February 3, 2016

Tommy in the News

Parkinson’s Life magazine, featuring Sir Thomas: Service dogs are often associated with blind people, but furry four-legged creatures are a way upward and forward with Parkinson’s. Read more    
January 18, 2016

What’s His Name

After three-plus years, I continue to be taken aback when strangers see Sir Thomas and me, acknowledge that they’ve read the various Do Not Pet, Mobility Dog, Ignore Me I’m Working tags and patches and, yet, they still ask his name. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s a friendly request made out of genuine curiosity, My hesitation in answering stems from that one percent who’ll then call out his name. It takes only once to distract him, leaving me to crash into the avocado display at the grocery store or face-plant onto the floor at the Delta check-in counter. For safety’s sake, I often respond with a smile and a fake name. Today, while enjoying a breakfast-served-all-day lunch with my husband and our son, Tommy dutifully napped on his mat beside our table. A couple stepped in and as they passed by, I sensed their pace slowing. “Aw.” I heard and […]
December 22, 2015

In Memory of Tess

My mother read murder mysteries with the same zeal that Sir Thomas arranges his fluffies before circling down to sleep. She could check out a dozen from the library and be back for more a few days later. After she passed away, I found a whodunit on her nightstand. Yellow flags stuck out from the pages. Handwriting I didn’t recognize listed character names and cryptic notes: red dress and flashlight. I cringed at how, in the end, the morphine fog must have confused her and kept her from the stories she so enjoyed. What I discovered later was that her hospice aide brought the sticky tags to the house. She’d jotted the notes so my mother could keep the characters straight and continue to do what she so enjoyed through to the end. I never got the chance to meet or thank my mother’s hospice caretaker for the simple act […]
December 17, 2015

“Does He Ever Get to Be, You Know, Just a Dog?”

Strangers often ask me that question, as though Sir Thomas’ harness is akin to a cubicle. If by ‘just a dog,’ they mean romping and napping and snacking on treats, look at the shine in his coat and the spring in his step for the answer. If by ‘just a dog,’ they mean snoring the night away in a snuggie bed in the same room with his human, most certainly. Each night, I tuck Sir Thomas into his bed, his favorite fluffies under and around him, and I whisper, Thank You. I want him to know that not only was he a Good Boy all day – he’s such a good boy – but also that I appreciate what he does. On one hand, I expect him to do his job and do it well. He’s not ‘just a dog,’ he’s a service dog. He was raised and trained to […]