Showbo has Retired

Sunday, June 22nd, 2003, Marie began team training with her service dog, Showbo.

Did you know that Showbo was Canine Partners for Life’s:

  • first female standard poodle service dog?
  • first dog to complete the prison puppy program out of the Maryland Correctional Institute of Women?
  • first service dog to have a dual purpose of being both a service dog and a guide dog?

Showbo is nearly eleven-years old now. She has been by Marie’s side for nearly nine years. Over those nine years, Showbo has been all over the USA – from Maine to Florida, Nevada, Indiana, and even Hawaii. She has been to numerous Phillies games, and hundreds and hundreds of bathrooms.

Showbo has been a huge help for Marie. Some of the things she helps Marie with are retrieval of items by name, including sock, diaper, bag, hanger, shoe, sneaker. She picks up anything Marie drops, and can even pick up a dime off the floor! Showbo assists Marie with the laundry by taking clothes out of the dryer, and pulling the laundry basket across the room.

Showbo’s assistance isn’t always perfect. Occasionally, she does something she wasn’t supposed to do. The one that tops them all is the time she attempted to push the automatic door button at Shippensburg University’s homecoming. Instead of hitting the button, she pulled the fire alarm! They had to evacuate the building. I’m not sure the fireman believed me when I said “the dog did it!”

Showbo’s assistance has really helped Dave out, too, especially with her guide work and memory. When at a restaurant, Dave only has to take Marie to the bathroom. He doesn’t need to wait for her – Showbo knows how to find her way back to the table. And, if (when) Marie needs to go again, Showbo knows how to take her there without Dave’s help.

Unfortunately, with Showbo now being nearly eleven-years old now, she’s showing signs of her age, and she’s beginning to have difficulty performing some of her responsibilities. With that in mind, we have decided that it’s time to retire Showbo. Don’t worry – she will remain a part of our family.

Today was Showbo’s retirement party. We had it at Rooney’s Dog Park in West Chester. About 30 people showed up to celebrate. I had the event catered by Rino’s Italian Restaurant in Exton. Their box lunch sandwiches came on croissants, and they were delicious!

During the party, Marie had us play some silly game. We divided up into four teams, and each team had to pass a ball put under their chin from one person to the next – no hands – and back. Many reluctantly participated, but I think everybody had fun doing it.

Marie then took Showbo out of harness for the last time. Marie was very emotional. I think Showbo’s retirement will be harder for Marie than Showbo. But when Domino took Showbo over to the dog park, Showbo ran a little, but spent more time looking around for Marie (who stayed at the dining tables instead of going into the dog park). I wonder how Showbo will take to retirement. I’m sure that the girls and I will need to give Showbo a lot of love to make her happy.

After some time at the dog park, we put up a piñata for the kids, who enjoyed pulling the strings and having the treats and toys fall out.

At the end, we gave each of the dogs who came some frozen doggie ice cream.

All in all, the weather was perfect a perfect 70 degrees with a cool breeze. The party went fairly smooth, and I think everybody had a good time.

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