Giving Thanks, Year 4

November 23, 2017

Year 1, we asked you to click.

Year 2, we asked you to share.

Year 3, we asked you to pay it forward.

This year… well, 2017 has been tumultuous in so many ways.  Just getting up and going to work has been tough when it feels like the world is falling apart.  At work, we’re having to “do more with less.”  Sometimes you have to find something to brighten your day.

Meet Eddie.

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Eddie is a handsome, golden 8-year old.  He snores and he sheds and he gives slobbery kisses.  He goes on walkabout when his person is attending a “no dogs allowed” meeting and he gets bored.  He’s sweet.  He’s the most popular being at the office.  You see his face and it just makes you feel happy.

Eddie has a very important job as a guide dog for Q (not his real initial).  They are world travelers, happy hour partakers, and together they’re living their best bachelor lives.  They’ve been together for 6 years.  Q says it’s maybe taken that long for them to really get used to each other.

[Let me be clear: I understand what is or is not appropriate behavior between service animals and not-their-people.  I have read enough stories online about people distracting service animals and tragedy striking.  There are boundaries, and I respect them.  Everyone at work respects them, and we asked Q how we should or should not acknowledge Eddie when they joined our office.  I also asked Q’s permission before taking these pictures of Eddie.]

At 8, Eddie is starting to slow down.  His walking pace isn’t what it used to be, and he’s stopping for rests at times that may not be convenient or safe for he and Q.  Eddie is otherwise in good health, but he’s aging, like the rest of us.  In late September, a rumor went around the office that Q would be retiring Eddie and getting another service animal.

All hell broke loose, and that’s not an exaggeration.  There were shushed hallway conversations.  People asked Q what his plans were, what Eddie’s plans were.  Q wants Eddie to be able to be a dog in his twilight years.  No fewer than five coworkers offered to adopt Eddie when the time came (I was one of them).  Q is Eddie’s entire life.  Would he understand?

Yesterday was Eddie’s last day at the office.  He’s spending the holiday at a friend’s house and then heading off to his new home with X (also not his real initial).  I stopped in qscucIIzRXiBo4y1FOw1AQto see Q today, because he leaves right after the holiday to meet his new guide.  He’s nervous and excited.  I asked how he’s feeling about letting Eddie go.  The good news is that Eddie will be living with a family that are good friends with Q.  They’ll see each other.  He’ll get updates.  Q’s looking forward to meeting his new guide dog, but there’s so much that needs to happen as they bond and adapt to each other; it’s going to be a busy December for them. I cried a little when I said bye to Eddie, getting one final sloppy kiss that left a slime trail on my sweater (worth it).

While Q adapts to life with a new guide dog, Eddie is beginning a transition to civilian life.  He’s going to be living with a family with small children.  He’s got a yard and extra room in a house.  But he won’t be hopping a plane for a jiu-jitsu tournament or heading down to a local pub for a young professional’s meet up.  Not often, anyway.  Suburban life awaits him.

We wanted to do something for Eddie, because he deserves to be rewarded for doing his job so well for so long, and to celebrate this transition to retirement.

This year, we’re happy to give Eddie a 6-month subscription to BarkBox.  Zozo loves his BarkBox and seems to know that the blue and tan box is for him when it appears on our porch each month.  The treats are good quality and the toys are fantastic and durable.  Our hope is that Eddie will enjoy these special deliveries, too, that are just for him.

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And when you find yourself in Asheville

Thanksgiving 2014

James and I have started planning our out-of-town escapes around things we can do with the dogs; rather, places we can go with the dogs.

Criteria:

  • must be an easy car ride (less that 8 hours without traffic)
  • must have well-lit, green-area’d rest stops along the way
  • must not be in a state with BSL about pit bull breed
  • must have dog-friendly activities
  • must not require kenneling

We’ve taken them to the Outer Banks.  We take them on overnights to relatives’ houses.  And now, they’ve been to Asheville.

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Through homeaway.com, We rented a wonderful converted barn just a few miles outside of downtown Asheville, NC, for a Thanksgiving escape.    Pet-friendly with wooded trails, lots of sniffs and radiant flooring.

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The barn is behind us.   Cameo appearance by Zozo's tongue.

The barn is behind us.
Cameo appearance by Zozo’s tongue.

We woke up our second morning to find a dusting of mountain snow!

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not interested in snow. going back to sleep on the warm spot on the warm floor.

We ate, we napped, we went on adventures (you’ll have to wait for those), and we broke out of our travel crate.

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Oh, and there were bears.  We saw them.  Well, one.  Our renters book was full of helpful information, like “Will a bear attack my dog?”

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Asheville is a great, walkable town.  And we have the pictures to prove it.  Next time, on Serial.