Many of you have read this blog throughout the entire journey with Mr. Banks. AKA Nama.  I’m calling him both names as funny enough, some people that read this blog from the very first time I matched with my previous guide dog still refer to him as Mr. Banks.  I’ve spent some time over the past week reading over those old posts.   This has caused me to feel happy, sad, proud and anxious.  If you want a recap, I’ll add the links below.

I had never set out to document in such detail the rough outline of the working life of a dog in terms of the beginning trials and successes and the pride and sorrow of the end. But here it is. This post isn’t a sad post though. Stick with me for a moment and I’ll explain.

First, let me give you a bit of a history lesson. My first dog Freddie retired back in 2010.  I wrote a rather long post about that back then.  I also wrote a post about going back to visit Freddie after three months of his retirement had passed.

So it’s not my first time going through this process.  Interestingly, it’s very similar but also very different to the first time I retired a guide dog.

I retired Nama on Saturday 22nd February 2020 at 3:58 PM to a lovely couple Sarah Jane and David.  They came to the house for a while and we went on a quick walk so that I could show them that although Nama is now a pet and can be treated as such, he has also been a really exceptional working dog.   AS I said to them on Saturday, be warned.  If he can walk me around busy cities and complicated campuses with ease, he may use that energy now that he doesn’t have to work any more toward less innocent tasks.  Such as opening bags, getting into places he should be near etc.  Nama was a brilliant worker, but he has his own personality.  HE’s funny, playful, dedicated, loyal, giddy but most of all, he’s mischievous.

It struck me when retiring my first guide dog Freddie and it strikes me again when retiring Nama. That seven to eight year period of the partnership with a guide dog can be a time of massive change.  With Freddie, I moved house about a dozen times. I graduated from college then started full time work.  This time with Nama, we lived in the one house but we had other massive changes.   It all started with getting married in 2012.  Then in 2013 Méabh was born.  In 2015, Rían was born.  My grand mother died in 2015 as well.  I also moved job to take up work with Dublin City University.  We spent a month in Spain, we travelled to France and we had numerous trips to England.  When Nama joined our family in 2012, it was just Emma and I.  When he left on Saturday, we had children around us.

I created a video to show just some of the great work that Nama has done. This covers a bus, train and Luas as well as shopping centres, quiet roads and busy streets. It also highlights the relationship he had with my children as well.

Nama was actually in the delivery room when both my son and my daughter were born.  He has enabled me to do a lot. But this video will give you a better sense of this than a lengthy blog post.

I’m going to miss Nama.  So too will Emma, my wife and my children Rían and Méabh.   But we are very fortunate to have him in our family for so long.