Monday, October 24, 2011

Remembering Denver

German Shepherd wearing red scarf
by Bonnie Finsthwait, co-leader, Auburn Foothills Guiding Eyes

In 1998, I received a fluffy, 8-week-old German Shepherd puppy to raised named Denver. I had been raising Guide Dog puppies since 1985, and knew from the minute I held Denver in my arms that he would go onto a great career as a working guide. Denver was energetic, smart, and quick. He loved to work and found such joy in being with people. It was a pleasure to handle him and as I watched him step forward into life as a working guide in September, 2000, I was very proud.

His first blind partner loved him immediately and they did very well together. They lived in a small rural town in Nevada with no sidewalks, and little traffic. Unfortunately, this gentleman died suddenly in May of 2001 and Denver was returned to GDB.

After a month's retraining, Denver was placed with another gentleman, to graduate in July, 2001. Denver continued this career for the next eight years in the Sacramento Area with lots of traffic, living in an apartment building and heading off to an office each day. He adjusted well to this new environment as I knew he would.

In late 2009, I received a called that Denver was being retired, and was given the opportunity to adopt him as my pet! What a joy it was to see him again and know that we had come "full circle" together! And, after not seeing each other for eight years, he remembered me and was as overjoyed to see me as I was him!

Denver spent the next year and a half on our ranch in the Sierra Foothills "at pasture" enjoying the freedom of our land and "educating" the new Guide Dog puppies I have continued to raise. In July of this year, Denver died of natural causes in my arms. His big heart just stopped...

I have always felt so fortunate and privileged to raise these wonderful dogs, and Denver gave me the gift of his love in his puppyhood and then in his elder years. He worked hard, played hard and loved much...he was a sweet soul who gave his all to his people. Goodbye Denver.

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