January 31, 2015

Taxing the Service Dog

If Mr. Groundhog has any sense, he’ll remain underground on his infamous day. Why risk whisker frostbite when he could snooze through to Valentine’s Day?   And if chocolate isn’t enough of a temptation to step into the cold, he’ll surely emerge by April 15 to file his taxes. The lure of a Service Dog tax deduction draws all sorts into the sunlight. And the IRS makes it easy. What? IRS and easy don’t typically appear in the same sentence. But all a taxpayer needs to provide to lop off the pesky cost of feeding and taking care of the dog is registration paperwork. Yes, yes, the ADA states that service dog handlers need not provide such documentation — licensing, certification or otherwise – and, thus, no legitimate registry exists. The IRS neglected to read that part of their fellow government agency’s regulations or perhaps they chose to pooh-pooh it. It’s […]
January 6, 2015

Up in the Air with a Service Dog

Travel Tidbits from Thomas The moment Sir Thomas steps into an airport, I wonder how he functions at all with the sensory overload. Suitcase wheels clatter and whir from behind. Neon blinks in every direction. Strangers’ hands reach toward him as they push past, pull ahead and pause to unlace shoes. He cuts a wake through air thick with the drone of announcements and the deep-fried, burnt-coffee odors of the food court. Airports exude stress. I’ve learned from him that if I keep to my senses, we can keep our stress levels down. Here are some travel tips that help us from getting swept up with the hurried masses: Sit The first impulse when entering the airport is to rush through the steps of baggage check, security clearance and gate wait. I now give myself oodles of time so we can sit and regroup when needed. When entering the airport, […]
December 16, 2014

The Dremel Incident

Since all eyes land on Sir Thomas when we’re out in the community, I take his grooming seriously. My hair, on the other hand, tends toward that ‘windswept’ look (a.k.a. ‘uncombed’) or gets tucked under any variety of hats (especially when ‘windswept’ leans toward ‘witchy’). As for my nails, there’s typically a mix of ochre and cadmium red paint spattered on my fingertips. Sir Thomas, however, leaves the house glossed and trimmed. Admittedly, he’s a handsome guy to start. But after a few brush strokes, he shines. There’s a healthy luster along his back as well as an inner glow from our one-on-one, hands-on time. He loves it, leans into it, groans contented groans Toenails are a different story. If a pair of clippers lurks somewhere in the room, he knows it, slinks away from it, quivers in a mass of drool. He’d had a nail cut too short in […]
November 4, 2014

Dames with Danes: Count on It

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,