Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dog of Honor

By: GDB graduate Becky Andrews

It has been almost seven years since my first guide dog, Pantera, died at the age of 11 1/2,working as a guide for nine of those years. The pain of her loss has turned to such sweet memories and celebration of an incredible life well lived. Pantera was a devoted, loving companion up to the day she died. I remember with such joy receiving her on September 17, 1997. Experiencing the freedom and ability to walk joyfully again was incredible. I wanted to just keep walking. Pantera held her head high and was so proud working as a guide. She helped me hold my head high and once again walk confidently and conquer so many things.  

I soon learned I did not only gain a beautiful guide dog to enhance my mobility and independence, many doors were opened up in my life. This included being a part of the GDB family and friendships with so many including her puppy raiser. The pictures below are Pantera as the dog of honor at her puppy raiser, Meg's wedding. After that day, Pantera was referred to as our Dog of Honor.

I remember well the day Meg called to ask if I would be her Matron of Honor and Pantera the dog of honor.  I was busy catching a bus to go to class - living the independent life with my guide dog.

Pantera lived her life with honor loving and serving. When my family and I reminisce about Pantera, we often talk about how much she loved to serve as a guide dog and her devotion. Thank you, Pantera, for your example and for opening my world back up as a young wife and mother. I carry you in my heart forever.