His dog is his life. And her life depends on the leash of this animal that guides her every day. His excessively low eyesight does not allow him to allow himself the simple pleasure of a long walk without the help of this daily companion. Unfortunately, he suffers from osteoarthritis and can no longer help Anna. Does the expression “female dog of life” come from this kind of injustice? The roles have reversed. Anna became the assistant and even the nurse of Runner Glade, her Australian Shepherd.
Anna Joanez is not in her first fight. She had started a fight, in 2014, for her guide dog to be allowed to ride with her in the shuttle taking her to downtown Cahors to run errands. Fight won.
Today, it’s another battle she fights in the company of this same pet, Runner Glade. A struggle to make this dog’s life easier and relieve his suffering.
Disabling osteoarthritis and a deteriorating condition
“My dog suffers from very advanced osteoarthritis and very disabling for his movements. This diagnosis was confirmed to me by two veterinarians. There is no improvement to be expected. His condition is deteriorating. He is 10 years old. The life expectancy of this breed does not exceed 14 years” laments this visually impaired woman who lives in Pradines and whose all her movements, like her whole life, were regulated around her dog.
A daily life completely turned upside down
Anna does her shopping twice a week at the Leclerc supermarket in Pradines. “I continue, but without my dog now. I just use my cane, it’s not as easy as when I’m in the company of Runner Glade” she laments.
“My dog’s handicap limits my movements of course. We did everything together until now. Walking does me a lot of good. I often went to the Pradines Sports Park with him. I stopped. I take care all the time from Runner Glade. I became my dog’s nurse with osteoarthritis, he can’t guide me like he used to.”
She’s not asking for a new service dog
Anna comes to the aid of her dear companion in any way she can. A groomer also brings a bit of well-being to the animal once a week. Anna is saddened. She won’t want a new service dog as long as there’s a breath of life left in Runner Glade. So, it does not make requests to the official bodies responsible for allocating dogs to the blind and visually impaired.
“I financially support associations that provide assistance dogs to visually impaired people, but I will certainly not go to these structures when Runner Glade dies to obtain a new animal,” she confirms.
It’s not attachment, it’s downright love
Anna does not want a previously trained animal. She prefers to do it herself, over the days and the reciprocal love that she and her future dog will share. This is how she talks about her faithful four-legged friend. There is no question for her of evoking an attachment to an animal. For her, it’s love.
“I knew how to train my dog on my own and I will do the same for the next one by going to pick him up at the Lotois dog shelter. It will be an animal that will have been abandoned and will need me” she declares while caressing her canine protege whom she cuddles and to whom she still hopes to offer happy days.
“When I can, I take him to the edge of the Lot. There he bathes and I feel that this immersion in the water does him good. He suffers less.”
Eternally devoted to her dog, whom she considers “irreplaceable”
Anna does not think for a single second about the loss of relative autonomy and the difficulties of movement that she is currently experiencing due to the physical weaknesses of Runner Glade, who is no longer of much help to her.
He will be replaced when he leaves, even though Anna considers him “irreplaceable.” Runner Glade has given her so much support that she now feels that it is her turn to give her all her tenderness by thus confirming that she is the first guide eternally devoted to her guide dog for the blind.