Mary the guide dog dies
Mary, who will be remembered as the loyal and friendly companion to local blind man Patrick Bloedorn, died last week
Mary, a German shepherd guide dog, was a loyal worker as well as a loving companion to Lake Oswego resident Patrick Bloedorn for eight and a half years.
She passed away July 24 and will be remembered as a big part of the downtown Lake Oswego neighborhood. She was very active and loyal to Bloedorn, who is blind, and she always wanted to work.
Mary was a confident and powerful dog and everyone in town knew her, Bloedorn said.
Whenever Bloedorn and Mary were out walking, people going by would say hello or honk their horns as they drove by. She accompanied Bloedorn everywhere he went, from fundraisers at Safeway to talks about his blindness with children, and from adventures at the beach to explorations through caves. Mary was a lovable dog who was at times goofy and liked to play. She especially loved romping through the water fountain at Millennium Plaza Park and she loved to be petted and hugged.
Sarah DeMerritt, who works at the A Avenue Safeway, lives with Patrick and was very attached to Mary as well.
She said, Mary needs to be remembered as a great dog who loved her work and helped Patrick live the life he wanted. We will miss her so much.
Before he was blind, Patrick was a shipment foreman at the cement plant in Lake Oswego. He became blind in 1985 and had to go through training for a dog at the California Guide Dogs for the Blind campus, which specializes in German shepherds and usually requires the blind person to live at the school for training.
Over the years, Patrick has had several guide dogs, including Augie, Stewart and Lyon. After Patrick retired Lyon, he brought Mary from San Rafael, Calif., and was able to do the training here in Lake Oswego with Lori Brown, a trainer of guide dogs. Bloedorn had become very experienced and knowledgeable about guide dogs and how to work with them, so Brown left when she felt the training was sufficient.
Bloedorn said he was very in tune with Mary and he could understand her. Mary loved chasing squirrels, and Bloedorn always knew when there was a squirrel around because of Marys body language.
DeMerritt even gave Patrick a Great Squirrel Hunter T-shirt because of Marys affinity for the critters, but after two years, Mary lost interest in squirrels because of Bloedorns training.
Mary was big with a lot of personality and got along well with others, including Bloedorn and DeMerritts other pet German shepherd.
Mary was really skilled at one thing especially: traffic checks. When a car was in the crosswalk or didnt see Bloedorn coming, Mary would yank her companion away quickly, and he would never question Marys judgment. He would praise her and she would be so happy, jumping and vocalizing her glee at excelling at her job.
Mary saved Bloedorn many times with traffic checks. One night, as the two were crossing the middle of State Street near Albertsons, Mary suddenly stopped. She yanked him away before a car could get too close. This incident was particularly impressive because Mary had to look behind Bloedorn to see the car.
Since Bloedorn also worked at Portland State University for research and a nonprofit in Portland, Mary would accompany him to downtown Portland, and she was really good on buses.
Mary was a healthy and active dog all her life until July 20, when DeMerritt discovered that Mary had fluid in her eyes. On July 21 she was ill and didnt want to work. So the next day they visited the vet, who said that she must have a cold. On July 23, Mary suffered a bad fever, so they went back to the vet to X-ray her lungs. The X-ray found five or six cancerous nodules, so Bloedorn put her to sleep on Wednesday so she wouldnt suffer.
Im still in shock, Bloedorn said. Mary did leave an empty space. So many people stop us on the street and offer condolences.
And whats next for Bloedorn?
He will return to the California Guide Dogs of America campus soon as the facility just received several German shepherds. Bloedorn is hopeful he will be able to receive a new dog there, then go through much of the training in Oregon as he did previously with Mary.Add a comment