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Hanging up the harness

By February 9, 2022No Comments
Kim patting a black Labrador

Supporters like yourself often ask us, ‘What happens to a Guide Dog when it retires?’

It’s a great question and one that Kim Ryan, Program Manager for Guide Dog Services, is delighted to answer for you!

“The bond formed between a Guide Dog client and their dog is incredible to watch. But there comes a time, just like all of us, when a Guide Dog needs to retire,” she says. “This is definitely one of the most challenging parts of my job!

“There are several different pathways that a retired dog may take. And whatever the outcome, Guide Dogs Tasmania is there to help the client make the best decision for the dog.”

Kim says that in many cases, a retired Guide Dog will remain with its handler, or a member of their family, and enjoy a well-deserved rest after its working life. 

But in the rare case that the handler is unable to adopt their retired dog, Guide Dogs Tasmania will rehome the dog with a suitable, loving family. 

“Supporting the client through this process is very important, and we’re with them every step of the way,” says Kim. 

“We share memories, we shed a few tears, and we watch them say goodbye.”

Recently, Kim was fortunate enough to reconnect Wendell, a retired Guide Dog, with his volunteer Puppy Raiser. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Wendell to return to the home that he grew up in; to the person that helped him become a Guide Dog,” she says. 

“He is going to have so much love, so many cuddles, so many treats and a relaxed retirement that he deserves.”

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