Goodnight, Sweet Knight
April 19, 2022
Goodnight, Sweet Knight
April 19, 2022


 I can’t read my own handwriting on a simple grocery list, which makes me an unlikely candidate for keeping a journal. But there’s one that caught my eye. Bound in an ivory-colored linen, this thick hardcover beckoned me to look inside. It was filled with printed aphorisms and musings, with white spaces to write in. Unlike a completely blank journal, there was little penmanship needed, so I purchased one this fall.

Each page represents one day and begins with the identical morning prompt. The same four thought-invoking words sit at the top of every page, centered above three empty lines. It reads:
I am grateful for . . . .

And each morning, I’ve written down my three responses. First—depending on my day’s schedule, the mood of the moment or how well I slept the night before–I consider my responses. Even in the worst of moods and stressful mornings, I can easily come up with dozens of reasons to be grateful. Since I began this journal journey, I stick with the three per day. I name something different every two, though. The third is a repeat. Every day, the one that stays the same is: I am grateful for . . . my dog.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I’m reiterating how grateful I am for the work, care and dedication that went into making my dog, possible. It takes a village to raise a service dog. Thank you to the village at the Service Dog Project for caring, teaching and loving my dog, Riker. Hats off to the volunteers who do so much behind-the-scenes (or barns) essentials, including poop patrol and feeding.  Riker is a healthy, beautiful boy and I appreciate the important role you played. A giant wave of appreciation to the trainers–Lynn, John and Haley–for your many hours loving him (including his goofiness, lovebug’ism and 3D drool) and teaching him how to help me. He’s a keeper and I am so grateful you let him go–to me. And to the donors who made it possible for me to make this transition to independence possible, a world of Thanks.

Transitions inevitably involve changes. I’ve met change in the past with hesitation, reluctance, the temptation to compare the past to what is now. This transition period has been anything but that for me or for Riker (though I’m still adapting to the daily 3D drool-wiping of walls, ceiling, tv, counters, window sills). Riker adapted readily to his new environment, his new humans. As we partner on, l continue to learn about about and from my dog, Riker. Thank you, village, it’s been a grand adventure so far. We’re taking it day by day, beginning each with gratitude.


  1. Mike & Nancy Merickel says:

    Sohappy for you (and Riker) Renee

  2. Mike & Nancy Merickel says:

    So happy for you (and Riker) Renee

  3. Annette Griffith says:

    So beautiful my friend <3 I have no doubt Riker is just as grateful for his amazing human <3
    SDP and volunteers certainly put in their all.

  4. Nancy Philo says:

    Renee-Wonderful! I am happy you have this handsome and noble fellow, Riker!❤️

  5. Renee says:

    Thanks, Nancy. I just love him.

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