At the APDA Regional Conference today Lynne and I talked about our favorite topics: Willow and Sir Thomas. Equipped with a slide show on the ABCs of living with a service dog, access brochures, info sheets and SDP business cards, we tried to pass along anything that might help some people find balance with their movement disorder We fielded questions, demo’d what a mobility dog can provide and listened to various speakers, our best buddies next to us. In fact, I spent the day sandwiched between buddies: Thomas on my right and Lynne on my left. On one side, the gift I can count on each day; my special Dane On the other, an added bonus: This yoga lady not only crossed paths with a trap-shooting gal from Detroit, but the gift of a camaraderie has grow between us. It a helpful thing, this unexpected friendship. It adds some balance to my day.. Willow and Tommy counted sheep,
I might have been a wee bit facetious in my most recent post. However, there may be a Calorie-alert Dog out there somewhere hovering over a plate of fries or a frozen dessert. One reason some folks can say these goofy condition names with a straight face has to do with taxes. Come April 15, Fluffy’s expenses can be deductible (see previous post). Another reason is to don Fluffy in a vest when it’s fun or convenient to bring her along to public places. There’s a third reason. People are increasingly turning to fill-in-the-blank service dogs to save them from various inabilities rather than assist with a disability. Failing to break an unhealthy habit or unpack life’s baggage are foibles for us all. This third category seems to equate the inability to move after eating an entire cheesecake with a neurological movement disorder that is eating away at one’s nerve […]
This is for those who think it’s okay to slip a service vest on their dogs so they can slip into restaurants or onto planes with their pet. This is for those who wave “authentic” registered-certified-licensed service dog papers so that store owners, hotel managers or theater ticket-takers will wave them inside, doggie, too. This is for those who see no harm in pretending Fluffy is a guide, cane, hearing aid, medicine reminder for their pretend disabilities. Perhaps your furry companion will behave during the flight or sleep through dinner. Perhaps he won’t. The vest won’t keep your dog from trying to play with mine while mine is busy keeping me from falling. The documents you purchased or printed off the internet won’t keep your dog from lunging, barking, biting at strangers. Your dog would never lunge, bark or bite? Even while a stranger straps an arm down and stabs you with a needle? Or pries open […]
West Coast Arrival Sir Thomas and I are adjusting to PST the best way we both know how: lots of naps. We’re also getting plenty of fresh air – and it really does feel fresh. We’ve been on quite a few walks here on this western coast. East Coast Departure My husband, son, and adorable rescue mutt (not to say husband and son aren’t adorable, too), left two weeks before I did and drove across the country, Though Thomas wondered where the family had gone, he liked the one-on-one time with only me (and the pet tortoise) in the house. The trip appealed to my sense of adventure, but only for a minute or two. The thought of being crammed in a car for five full days in a row made me shudder. Didn’t put the tortoise through that either – he got Fed Ex’d! Tommy was, of course, stellar in the airport and all through the flight. […]
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 […]