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 […]
December 1, 2015

Melissa and Tanner

Sir Thomas and I encounter people everyday who sing his praises and seem genuinely moved by the ways he helps me move. On rare occasions, I meet other service dog handlers and the amazing dogs that help them move. Melissa and Tanner are one of those pairs. Though our encounter was brief, it took only those few moments to witness the bond this young partnership already shares. One focused on not letting the other fail while the other remained determined not to fail. This is their story: Can you imagine hearing the words “your baby girl probably won’t live”? Those are the words my mother heard in 1978 when I was born very prematurely. My mother, then only 21, almost lost her life as well during childbirth, but ultimately we survived together that day and lived to fight for many more. When I clearly proved to the doctors that I was going […]
November 14, 2015

Bella and George

If you haven’t seen this story, here it is. Why we love these service dogs and their impact on our lives: The story of Bella and George  
November 11, 2015

Stepping through November

We’re well into November, the month that dusk falls ridiculously early, the days keep getting shorter and shadows longer. Let’s not forget the wind. The gusts have already whipped the last color from the maple trees. Despite the wet, cold and dark, I find this segue into winter to be a prime time to gaze overhead. Not at the stars. Closer, at skeletal branches that the winds have exposed. When I gaze up, I notice what summertime canopies hid from my view: how the trees catch each other. I look around and it’s as though I’m looking at a family. Evergreens seem to reach out to fallen birch while oaks support uprooted beech and alder. There are saplings intertwined with an older sibling, couples leaning on each other, whole stands providing support. No wonder that November marks National Family Caregiver’s month. No coincidence, either, that it’s the same month we recognize […]