When I woke up this morning I remembered what day it was, but for some reason writing this post took me nearly all day. It wasn't because I didn't have anything to say, but rather because the words I wanted to say sounded hollow and cliche. They're words I've written on this day since this blog started; or at least, most years on this day since this blog started. And so, I wondered how exactly do you say the same thing without it being cliche or insincere year after year? But then I began to think that it needed to be written and that it didn't matter how it came out. Because, really, this post isn't cliche or hollow to me. It's my yearly tribute to the little Black Labrador who changed my life eleven years ago today.
I didn't know how to say thank you in such a way that it seemed fresh and new. But then, I thought that this post really is for me and Jetta. So, even if it doesn't seem fresh and new to someone else, it is no less heart felt. So, here it is.
Thank you Jetta for teaching me to be the dog handler I am today. Thank you for putting up with my blunders and thank you for doing so many crazy things without batting an eyelash. Thank you for trusting me and for teaching me to trust you. I have so many great memories of some of the more grandiose things we did together, like climbing in ancient Greek ruins,; whale watching; "seeing" the Grand Canyon together; traveling to so many places I can hardly count them all. But, I also have great memories of the every day things. And, it's these things that I am most thankful for.
Sure, watching you race along a beach in Denmark was pretty impressive, but you guiding me from curb to curb every day, finding doors/chairs/elevators for me, you navigating the bustling university campus, and you lying patiently on the pool deck for the second time in a day for me are the things that made you a truly amazing guide dog. Your ability to go out three to four times a day because my crazy schedule demanded it is certainly noteworthy. Thank you for loving me in your Jetta way and thank you for being there for me when I felt alone. Thank you for guiding me down the aisle when I was a bride's maid for one of my best friends and thank you for making it possible for me to walk a straight line and carry a cup of coffee to class all at once.
So, what is it you say to a dog that you've tried to appreciate at least once every year for eleven years straight?
You say thank you and you hope that somehow that your beautiful black firecracker knows that the six years she dedicated to keeping you safe were one of the best gifts any being could have given another.
Thank you Jetta. Here's to eleven years and hoping for more. XOXOXOXO