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 […]
New Englanders tend toward a handle-it-on-our-own, we’ll-find-a-way-through hardiness that holds self-reliance on a pedestal as high as our current snow banks. Slam us with endless snowfall? We have shovels. More record wind chills? Throw another log on the fire. A gimpy leg and balance issues make it difficult to drive a snow blower or wield an axe. No problem, I’d planned a way to handle it earlier this winter: Confirm driveway clearing service: √ Check generator: √ Add “Chop Wood” to Honey-Do List Praise Sir Thomas each time he: Slogs through parking lot slush without concern √ Stands in ridiculously cold temperatures while I fumble with gloves to open the door √ Woofs only once at the mailman (who delivers to our door each time the mailbox gets decapitated by the plow) Last week, while my son was at school and my husband away on business, the power went out. […]
It’s been a decade living with Parkinson’s and the days before PD are tough to recall. I don’t much like admitting to that because it shows either my age, my waning memory, or that, throughout my days, symptoms are seeping into more moments than not. It’s been three years, five months and sixteen days since Sir Thomas came home and it’s impossible to recall life without him. I don’t mind admitting to that because he’s my sidekick, my four-legged cane, my mobility partner, my handsome-though-slobbery link to independence. It’s eighteen months away and Sir Thomas and I are already planning on attending the 2016 World Parkinson Congress In the meantime, as a WPC Blogger Partner, I’m sharing stories, information and resources on PD life with a service dog. I don’t much mind because, throughout my days, his presence has seeped joy into more moments than not. [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form] WPC Blogger […]
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 […]
April marks Parkinson’s Awareness Month and as I move through speaking engagements and presentations, Sir Thomas and I advocate for each other. April 7: Sister, Sister! The Dames with Danes presented the “A, B, Cs of Service Dogs” to a Parkinson’s support group. We talked about A=All the Good, B=Be Sure to Consider such things as cost, commitment, change in lifestyle, C=Caution (which included discussion of vet care, what a 24/7 partnership means, reconsider if you’re more of a cat person). It was a great crowd with many thoughtful questions and respect for the Do Not Pet/Do Not Distract on both Danes’ vests. Our initial entrance to the building, however, met with quite the opposite awareness of the two dogs at work. The appearance of a pair of giant dogs in harnesses inside a city building (where the support group happened to be meeting) speaks of working dogs. We’d been in […]
In the midst of the food court’s strutting teens and screeching toddlers, Sir Thomas folded onto his mat in that sphinx-like move that Danes do and gazed those soulful eyes at me. I instantly aimed my phone at that regal pose (he’d even crossed his front paws!). But instead of his handsome image appearing on my screen, a message popped up: “Cannot Take Photo.” Apparently there’s a limit to how many I can store on my phone. Namely, 2,990, according to the count at the top of the icon. Smells of pan-fried, deep-fried and stir-fried lunch surrounded us as I focused on getting that picture. I deleted 277 blurry selfies and inside-of-my-purse auto-shots. But the phone insisted I was still out of storage space. Thomas let out a deep sigh, uncrossed his front legs and lowered his heavy head to rest between them. His message seemed clear: stop struggling to […]
Short post following a long flight: The six-hour flight to Seattle left me stiff and slow-moving. With the help of Sir Thomas, we made our way through the seemingly endless airport, drawing the attention of the usual Dane admirers (to many of whom I needed to point out his working status, point to the vest, and make a point of Please Do Not Pet). One comment I’d not heard before came from a flight attendant (who thoughtfully did not even make eye contact with Thomas,). While in line for the tram to whisk us to baggage claim, she said, “It’s so nice to see a service dog working. A real one. All I see are frauds. So many of them.” That says quite a bit. Sadly. Another post to follow on our happy travels to Whidbey Island.
Packing, purging, plane ride, pacific time shift, PD. Not only is Sir Thomas a stellar service dog through the layered stages of my move across the country, he reminds me of what’s truly important. We spent the morning watching cloud shapes.
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. […]
A dame with a Dane walks into the library… I’m not kidding. Being the new kid on the Island, I’m trying to settle in. For me, the official I Have Arrived document (following my driver’s license) is a library card. After asking where the library is located, Sir Thomas and I ventured out. We heard the usual greetings as we entered — Handsome! You Could Put a Saddle on Him. I Love Your Dog! Thomas and I continued toward the information desk. The librarian took one look, rose from her chair with her hand extended and said, “You must be Renee.” Small Island, I thought. With a big smile, the librarian added, “The Dame with a Dane.” It turns out that the delightful Service Dog Project CP* I’d enjoyed lunch with here on the Island is the president of the Friends of the Library. Small world. It may take me […]