Routines rule. When a schedule runs as planned, a sense of control washes over the daily shifts-and- takes of Parkinson’s. I feel as though I’m in charge: Me, alpha; you, disease.
Sir Thomas likes his routines, too. Same food, same time and no surprises (particularly of the projectile kind). He gets a regular walk. I’m consistent with the vocab I use when he’s working. I feel as though I’m in charge. Me, alpha; you, service dog.
Vacations disrupt routines. With one fast approaching, I prepared for the changes afoot – well, four feet, actually. Plus one giant head. With his schedule in flux, I figured I’d establish a holiday routine. It will help ease the transition from being home. His and mine. By weaving the same-old, same-old habits into the day – meds at regular intervals (mine), outdoor breaks at the expected times (his), standard exercise and meals as usual (both of ours) – there’d be no surprises.
Surprise #1: Tommy ate. Tommy peed. Tommy slept, snored even. He didn’t seem to notice the time differences at the B&B, as long as his bowl was filled a few times and there were a few cookies in-between, he appeared quite content. When it came time to step into his harness, he lifted his head and wagged. When thunder rolled in — the weather patterns disregarding our anticipated outings – Tommy lifted his head and rested it back down again. He seemed so relaxed, as though he was on vacation.
Surprise #2: Tommy wagged, listened, walked steadily by my side. Morning or afternoon, in the park or at a café, he worked to steady me when I needed him. Different surroundings, same good dog.
Tommy savored the vacation. He relished the close proximity of dog to human in the quaint B&B room. He delighted in the extra outings and new people wanting to pet him.
It’s no surprise that his ability to simply be – to appreciate what’s happening in the moment – rubbed off on me. He taught me to drop the urge to control – the symptoms, the situation – and trust myself. What needed to be a part of the day would be; let go and enjoy. Me, foolish; you, clever boy.