It is always difficult to decide when a therapy dog has to retire. Sometimes it is just age that gets in the way of the dog performing well. Sometimes it is health issues.
But regardless of the reason, the best scenario is one in which the dog and owner have a chance to retire with fond farewells and “last visits.”
But sometimes a dog is retired very suddenly, as is the case with Bingo.
Bingo was adopted two years ago by Sandy and Jim and joined a very pet-friendly family. Two other Pet Partner dogs, Rocky and KC and a family cat and a horse welcomed her.
Bingo was such a large powerful dog she had to learn to walk calmly on a loose leash and a backpack helped her in the beginning. She loved “working” from the start and this was the technique to get her under control.
She learned all her obedience and was happy to Sit and Down and Stay on her Place.
She always had the look of a gangly puppy even though she was considerably older – that innocence and endearing cock of her head.
After one year with Sandy, Bingo passed her Pet Partner evaluation and started working in Henderson and Boulder City.
Bingo was the goofiest dog. She walked as if lumbering along and shook her huge head as if to say “I am a happy dog.”
She looked like no other dog. People loved trying to figure out what she was.
She often drooled and had to work with a cloth under her chin – oh well, the indignity of it all!
Bingo especially loved being around children. She smiled the greatest smile and you just knew she was in her element.
Bingo’s came to Sandy and Jim when her prior owner had Alzheimers and could no longer care for several dogs. Bingo was already a senior dog but adjusted to her new home quickly. She loved her sibling canines and fit right in.
She learned to be a Pet Partner therapy dog and enjoyed working.
Everyone thought she would have a long career … but it was not to be.
July would be her one year anniversary as a Pet Partner – however she is retiring now.
Osteosarcoma has cut very short her career and she can no longer participate as a therapy team.
She still enjoys eating and tries to run but that has to be curtailed now.
She still wants to be hugged and loved but you have to be very careful around her leg.
She still wants to do agility but now watches from the sidelines.
She still has the goofy smile but now fewer things make her smile.
She has to be careful not to run or jump or get too excited.
She has to take medication that dulls the pain but also makes her tired.
So it is time for Bingo to retire from therapy work.
Thank you Bingo for all those lives you touched with your gentleness and spirit.
Thank you Bingo for showing us all how much life you can pack into one too-short a year.
All of Sandy and Bingo’s Love Dog colleagues wish them the best and celebrate the joy she brought to so many in just one year as a Love Dog.