The vet said, ‘She has arthritis is in her legs and back. I wouldn’t put the harness on her again. I was devastated.’
Even Seeing Eye Dogs grow old.
And for those who have come to depend on them, it can seem all too fast.
Val knows better than anyone that Seeing Eye Dogs cannot work forever and how important it is to prepare for that day.
Onyx spent her most of her working life on a farm in the far east of Victoria, near the Snowy River.
Onyx guided Val through washouts, around tree stumps and past ants’ nests, all while avoiding wombat and rabbit holes.
‘If she saw a snake, she would wait for it to cross the path before moving on.’
That’s amazing discipline.
Thanks to the generosity of people like you, Seeing Eye Dogs are taught specialised skills such as avoiding the usual distractions like cats. But here was a dog who was surrounded by wombats, rabbits, chickens, cows, horses, and even snakes. And she never blinked an eye.
Eventually the farm became too much for Val and she moved with Onyx to suburban Melbourne.
But sadly, time was against this wonderful dog. Despite suffering from arthritis she bravely wanted to continue working, but Val didn’t want Onyx to suffer so she knew it was time to retire her.
For Val, it was devastating but the decision regarding how Onyx would spend her last years in retirement, was never in doubt.
Onyx would spend her last years lying in the sun in her new suburban backyard - without a snake in sight as Val’s beloved pet.
For Val, Onyx’s retirement meant some very tough months waiting for her new Seeing Eye Dog.
‘I was miserable. I lost my independence and confidence and went back to the days when people felt sorry for me because I couldn't do things'
Eventually, Val was matched with Roma, her new Seeing Eye Dog who she came to love and depend on just as much.
‘I can’t bear to think what my life would be like without Onyx and Roma. I owe so much to lovely people like you who support Seeing Eye Dogs’
‘When you help fund the cost of caring for and training puppies like Onyx and Roma, you are helping turn lives around. I cannot thank you enough.’