Of the 3,300+ delegates attending the 2013 World Parkinson Congress, 2,300+ were dog lovers. Sir Thomas turned heads along the cobbled streets downtown as well as on the carpeted stretches between presentations at the conference center. Cameras flashed, comments flew in more than one language: Mon Dieux! C’est un cheval! Does he have a saddle? The paparazzi aside, people also stopped us not just to ask what breed and whether I rode him to the conference, but what service he provided. I was among others whose balance is challenged and their curiosity sprang from experience. Many came to the Round Table I co-hosted on Service Dogs – for anyone who missed it, the presentation slides can be downloaded here.(Special thanks to Carolyn Weaver — and Selma — for sharing their expertise.) The yoga sessions were well attended and the creativity panel was fun. The poster sessions drew a crowd – those, too, can be […]
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 […]
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.
I’m packing up a folder full of schedules and notes on all that I plan to partake in at the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) next week. Sir Thomas’s toenails are trimmed (he knows something’s up) and I located and even used the iron before adding a couple of blouses to the suitcase. I can’t help but feel as though I’m off to attend a giant wedding. Like with a modern event where the bride and groom have shared equally in the planning, patients and practitioners of this event have both contributed to the preparations. And, when guests arrive, we aren’t relegated to sit on one side or another. This multi-day gathering encourages intermingling among all those related to Parkinson’s disease (PD), from individuals living with it to researchers seeking to strike it from our lives. There are speeches, toasts, even dancing, and the fully-stocked program is the buffet table of tasty […]
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 […]