The flu isn’t particular. It didn’t skip me because of the Parkinson’s. Nope, an equal-opportunity virus, it has me lying on the couch coughing up a lung same as anyone else in its path. I could blame holiday travel strain. Or not. The past week in San Francisco presented a mix of utter delights (restaurants at every turn – Burmese, Vietnamese, Mexican, Californian) and unusually warm and sunny walks (across the Golden Gate Bridge and along Castro Street). Admittedly, there were upended schedules and unpredictable circumstances. But what traveler doesn’t face a few obstacles? The balancing act between being away from home and being on an adventure, I’ve learned, requires adaptations. To keep the scales tilting toward the joyful, for example, I factor in nap times and often pack my own blanket (my PD gets me tangled up in puffy duvets). Among a litany of modifications, the most helpful has […]
I’m baaaaaack. It’s a New Year, the whirlwind transition to a new canine partner is behind in 2018, and I’m out and about with a second service dog by my side (it amazes me I am fortunate enough to be teamed with a second service dog). Yes, I’m back, complete with the stories. Some of them lean toward sweet and I’m back could be heard in the same tone as though coming home after too-long a journey. Other tales make me cringe and I’m back conjures up images and audio of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Among them, of course: the inevitable saddle comments. Regardless, I’m back in the saddle again. So, please come back as I continue to share these stories in order to help, hope, educate, advocate, learn.
How businesses like the local coffee shop can help reduce service dog fraud I’m seated at Starbucks with my chai latte (almond milk) grande, scone, extra napkins. My service dog, curled up on his mat beside me, sighs. We’re content in our corner, which has me wondering how it got so complicated. Not the tea. Green or black, with bagel or brioche, the simple fact is that it is pleasant here. No surprises. Just what this customer wants. An untrained dog running amok would cancel out the pleasantries. Like the diners in a California bistro recently, I’d find another establishment for my tea break. The dog in the booth beside those diners lounged on the seat until a plate of fries arrived, which he then snarfed off the table. I’d also be among the no-repeat customers in a building in Massachusetts where, while on the elevator, a vested mini-dog […]
My service dog and I walked into a bar . . . Sounds like the start of a bad joke. It was pretty bad, but it was no joke. My service dog (and my husband) and I walked into a restaurant/bar. We’d gone out to this particular place a few times before. It was a busy night, but there were a few open spaces and we were in no hurry. Waves of music and conversation surrounded the three of us as we waited to be seated. Not a minute went by when the music halted mid-song. The abrupt silence on stage made many heads turn toward the piano player. Microphone in hand, pointing at us with the other, he bellowed, “Did you see the size of that dog?!” Heads pivoted our way. Did he really just say that? And he’s pointing at us? A few dishwashers peeked through the swinging […]
Sheltering and social distancing have taken a toll on my service dog and me. Steering clear of public places has weakened our being out in public places skills. Still, as businesses begin to open up, I need to rally myself to get back out into the community. On the plus side, Bryce has become stellar at assisting me throughout the house and garden. We haven’t gone anywhere but house and garden, so he’s had ample opportunity to excel at what I need most in the kitchen, bathroom or out in the yard. Staying at home was simpler. At shops and cafes, there are – people. The grocery store is at the top of the scary list. My husband (and local farm delivery) has taken that on since February. No one used to stop to talk to him in any aisle before the virus and they’re certainly not going to start, […]
The instructions on my service dog’s tags read DO NOT Separate Dog from Handler. The same words repeat on the rear window of my van, emphasizing that wherever I go, he goes. We’re a team. Even in an emergency, we both board the ambulance. Yet, here I stand in the parking lot of the urgent care clinic watching a vet assistant lead him inside without me by his side. I feel half-dressed, only one pant leg on. I wish there were instructions sewn onto my COVID mask that read DO NOT Separate Handler from Service Dog. Even in a pandemic. When a pet falls ill, it’s heartbreaking. They don’t complain. If only they could explain how they feel, where it hurts. So, we do what we can: fluff their beds, sit by their side stroking their fur, break the rules and hand-feed them slices of roasted chicken. We try to […]