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Community to throw retirement party for Diesel the therapy dog, who is rapidly going blind

Diesel is a special dog, and the community did not want to miss a chance to celebrate him
Posted at 8:51 AM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 09:51:47-05

PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. — A volunteer at the Port Washington library is ready to turn the page to retirement but this career shift is abrupt. The community is getting ready to celebrate an early retirement for Diesel the therapy dog.

The retirement party is actually a bit overdue. The party had to be rescheduled because of a late December snowstorm. But, Diesel is a special dog, and the community did not want to miss a chance to celebrate him.

At Port Washington's WJ Niederkorn Library, no other pup stacks up quite like Diesel, helping kids grow their confidence as they learn to read.

"It's easier to read to an animal than reading out loud to a person," explained the library's Head of Youth Services, Jamie Mercer. "He's just so wonderful and cuddly that it's fun to read to him."

Diesel, and his handler Michelle Adasiak, have made over 100 library visits. And during the height of the pandemic, the pair got creative and found ways to continue those visits virtually.

"We started in Cudahy with Jamie at the Cudahy library and then as she moved to different libraries so have we, just because we love working with her," explained Michelle.

And year six for this therapy dog was shaping up to be a good one — until a plot twist.

"It happened rather quickly, I think it was right before the new year..." recalled Jamie.

A recent trip to the vet revealed that Diesel is quickly losing his eyesight.

"He really doesn't have much left past the tip of his nose," explained Michelle. "I don't want to have to retire him because we love doing this — but for everyone's safety, I do. I don't want it to be a bad experience for Diesel either."

So as Diesel trots toward days filled with well-deserved naps, the library is sending this dapper dog off in style with a retirement party.

"We just thought it was very fitting since he's had such a huge impact in the community," added Jamie. "I'm glad he will be able to relax and retire but he'll definitely be missed."

The party takes place from 5 to 7 inside the library. Everyone is invited to stop by and make a card for Diesel or read a story with him and say goodbye.

Michelle says she is already working with a therapy pup in training, Cora, who will hopefully be able to take over Diesel's shifts at the Port Washington library.

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