Dear Friends and colleagues:
It is with bittersweet emotion that I share a change in Luke’s guide dog career. As of Tuesday, 14, 2018, Luke formally retired from guide dog services. He has been adopted by a fine family of 3, who I am confident will love and care for him as I have.
Luke began his guide dog career on his 2nd birthday, February 22, 2010 and since then, worked every day without calling in sick or requesting for vacation leave! I believe that these dogs provide not just a valuable service but offer benefits – unconditional love, extraordinary performance, comfort and loyalty that no one could ever out match. I have always believed that like humans, these fine dogs deserve not just a regular break from work but the finest retirement plan there is to offer for a demanding and stressful job.
I have maintained Luke’s health with strict attention to ensuring the best care possible that will allow him the time to enjoy a retirement he so deserves. He has aged incredibly well, maintaining his physical fitness and alertness. If not for his age, he would still be on my left.
I thank Luke for all his hard work in promoting GDH, representing guide dogs and for his dedication to his work despite his growing annoyance with me. In the last year, he made it clear that he was putting in for retirement. He has since made every effort to hand me off to someone else whenever he could. His sleeping on the job was becoming less and less discreet and his working hours were quickly lessening. Many times I wondered whether my dog was human inside of a canine body!
In our quest to promote equality for the blind and visually impaired, Luke led our way into so many important people’s lives, charming them and persuading them to support the blind and visually impaired. He made friends in so many walks of life. Legislators, city leaders, corporation executives, doctors, nurses, retailers, bus and taxi drivers and the general public. He always managed to put a little love in every heart he reached out to.
It has been a few days since I last touched him and I miss him desperately but know with certain that he will find happiness where I have sent him to and I will eventually find another partner who will have big shoes to fill and a professional recognition he will have to uphold. Luke has been a big part of GDH’s growth and his successor will have the honors of picking up where he left off.
Please join me in wishing Luke the happiest retirement. It is with love that I will miss him.