Today I have made one of the hardest decisions anyone partnered with a service dog makes, that of hanging up the guide harness. This decision was not made lightly or in haste. Thane has been out of harness for a short time due to a skin issue which has since healed nicely. While out of harness, we worked together as a service/ hearing dog team (combo trained dog) When the harness came back into the equation however, stress was quite evident for Thane. I won't go into all of the details here other than to say that it was very important to me to listen to what Thane needs and wants rather than focusing on how difficult life without a guide dog will be.
At this point, Thane still loves to do his indoor tasks. These tasks are also a huge part of my ability to live as independently as I do. He will continue in the home to be my service dog and probably even learn new tasks. Public access as a service/ hearing dog may come to a close as well or we may find that stepping out of harness resolves the stress issue.
For now though, I will go solo and give Thane more time to heal, relax, and be loved for the awesome dog he is and has been at my side. He will remain in my life, as the teacher of the great lesson and heartbreak known as Lyme Disease. I sincerely doubt I would be making this post now, if it had not been for it. The reason really doesn't matter though- all that matters is that he is loved and will continue to be loved and cared for by me.