The decision to retire a service dog is a very difficult one. When your dog has been besides you 24/7, never more than an arms-length away, and when your very health depends on him doing his job, you grow very close to your four-legged guardian angel. However, service dogs aren’t machines. They grow tired and old and it’s not responsible to demand that they continue to work at your side.
Over the past four months Rally has grown slower and stiffer. The arthritis in his hips make it difficult for him to climb stairs. He can’t stand or sit for more than half an hour at a time, and although I have eased back on my normal activities, he remains in discomfort. It wasn’t fair of me to ask that he continue to work when he was in pain, so, very reluctantly, I made the decision to retire Rally. He will return home with my parents during Thanksgiving break as a beloved family pet where he will be in constant loving companionship. I have already planned to visit often, and although I am sad to be loosing my guardian angel, I know this is the right choice.