Goodbye to Mindy

This entry is part 3 of 17 in the series GDB & Route 66
sign: "Guide Dogs for the Blind National Headquarters"

Today was the day. I delivered Mindy to Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Mindy had done several kennel stays locally in the last two months, where I paid for extra playtime and stuffed Kongs and all the good things that would make her love staying in kennels, and indeed she was excited to enter the kennel lobby and trotted happily away with staff without ever looking back. This was important to me because I didn’t want her worrying about being left at GDB.

black Labrador Mindy smiling at camera
Just before turn-in.

It worked: today she sat for the GDB kennel worker to put on her leash, and then she went straight away with her, walking nicely, ears and tail up, sitting on cue. It was about as painless and stress-free as possible for her. (Me? I was doing fine until the GPS countdown hit single digits. Not gonna lie, I cried. But to be fair, I did more prep work for Mindy.)

two teams of handlers and Labrador guide dogs, one yellow and one black, and two instructors at pedestrian crosswalk

I discreetly watched several teams-in-training working on the San Rafael campus. It was neat to see these new partners learning to work together; I saw one team struggle to find the sidewalk’s edge at a pedestrian crossing near my parking space, and then at the other side of the crossing they nailed it, and the man got quite enthusiastic for his dog’s and his success. It was obviously exciting, and that was pretty cool to see.

traffic barrels and barricades, and a series of PVC pipes hanging vertically from the ceiling
Training obstacles, both ground and overhead.
road sign with picturing of barking puppy: "I said go slowly! 5 MPH Zone"
They have cute road signs at GDB.

I self-medicated tonight by walking to a local Boathouse Sushi near my hotel. The food is excellent — they have an oyster bar, so I tried that for the first time (the sauce was tasty), and then their clever take on “chips and salsa,” which is a tempura carrot as the base topped with avocado, spicy tuna, and creamy aoli. Yum.

Tomorrow I have to get some work done (aw, man!) and then I hope to explore some local touristy things.

It’s been pretty fascinating, this drive. Just today, for example, I went from high desert to the lush Sonoma Valley, over mountain ranges and through river plains. I went from snowcaps to turning on the car’s AC. The disadvantage of driving alone is that I can’t take photos as I drive, so I don’t have the road trip illustrations I want for this post. (It’s not always safe to pull over to photograph a vista on a twisty mountain road….) But it’s been a really scenic trip thus far.

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    1. You did a fabulous job with Mindy! I always want my puppies to walk away and not look back. I’m thinking of you and best of luck to Mindy in her new life!

    2. Christopher David Simanton

      Good luck to Mindy!! She is going to be a great companion to someone!!

    3. Thanks for sharing, I can’t imagine how hard it was for you to leave her.

    4. I wish I had met her but I know she will be great for someone

    5. I’m so happy, thinking of the fortunate person who will get Mindy as his or her guide dog. It makes me sad that you had to leave her, but I hope you realize what an amazing difference you’ve made to someone’s life (and also to Mindy’s).

    6. Sounds like a happy yet sad day. Someone is going to be very happy and lucky to be placed with Mindy.

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