You wouldn’t know from seeing her, but today is Cessna’s eighth birthday.
I’m really not sure how I feel about this.
On one hand, it’s a day to spoil her rotten and to celebrate.
But, on the other hand, it’s a day which signifies the ominous approach of retirement and the future ailments of being a senior dog.
I know I should be cherishing every day I have with Cessna and try not to worry about the future, but having just recently lost Phoenix, I can’t help but feel sad.
Phoenix and I had a wonderful partnership. We enjoyed many memories and pretty much became adults together.
But, Cessna and I have something different. Yes, we have a wonderful partnership. But, there’s more to it, than just the average blind person-dog guide bond.
Cessna has made me a better person.
She came into my life as Phoenix’s successor, but she’s been more than that.
She’s been my reality check.
From the beginning, Cessna and I had to learn different ways of working together. Unlike other dogs in her class, she couldn’t trust. When most clients and their dogs were cuddling and getting to know one another. Cessna and I were sitting at a distance, trying to figure out whether it was worth putting trust in each other. It wasn’t until our second week together, that she actually offered some affection.
From that moment, I knew this little firecracker was going to be mine.
Over the past six and a half years together, we’ve had our ups and downs.
I had an image of what our partnership should look like. But, she showed me differently.
Cessna made me work for her respect. In return, she gave me not only that same respect, but also taught me lessons that will resonate within me for a lifetime.
Not every dog who comes into your life will make an everlasting impression upon you, but I’ve been blessed to have had two very special labs do just that.
Phoenix gave me independence and taught me the value of unconditional love.
Cessna has given me insight and shown me how important treating others (including non-humans) with dignity and respect.
If Cessna had not entered my life, I know for a fact, I would not have become the caring and compassionate animal guardian I am today.
So, without further a due, please join me in wishing my little ball of energy, a very…
Happy 8th Birthday!
Cessna, I look forward to spending many more wonderful years with you, laughing and learning along the way.