May 1, 2013

A Cane with Personality

Youtube video for mobile devices Youtube video for computer Tommy and I in our submission to the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) Video Competition. For more info on the WPC see www.worldpdcongress.org
April 5, 2013

No Ordinary Service Dog

So there I was, driving to a weekly yoga class I teach at a local hospital.  Same time, same route, same station wagon. During this regular trip to a standard appointment, I checked the rear view mirror. Tommy’s big head filled most of it as he lay in his typical car position: curled up with his snout resting in a sunbeam on the narrow ledge of the back window. He looked so comfortable. This comfort of his has moved beyond snoozy. He’s in tune with me, understanding our routine, sensing when I need him, patient with people endlessly commenting on his size/beauty/good manners. And at that very moment, as though his reflection triggered some kind of inner reflection, this was no ordinary-kind-of day. Not with that extraordinary (snoring) being with me.  
March 29, 2013

Take Care

I interrupt the regularly scheduled Travels with Tommy trip update with a view from the morning: Out on the still chilly deck, I watch the predawn sky transform from gray to opalescent pink. Red-winged blackbirds begin to trill and robins sing out their early greetings. The sound that drew me out here, however, was not that of spring but of the unmistakable heaving of a dog about to vomit. The sight interrupting this pastel scene is of a neon yellow streak of bile across the deck. It’s the color of a highlighter, the shape of a slash underlining something important. Among the bits I’m learning about life with a Dane is that this gentle giant has a giant stomach. If it goes too long without food – as long as from dinner to breakfast, sometimes – it gets upset. I suspect it is akin to the churning that can happen […]
March 24, 2013

Travels with Tommy

Act I: Leaving on a Jet Plane Entering the airport felt like stepping onto a movie set. Heads turned to catch a glimpse of the celebrity. Cameras flashed. Oohs and aahs escaped the lips of other travelers who slowed their hurried pace as they passed by us. In addition to this ‘puparazzi,’ all that is crazy-busy about airports drove Tommy’s sensory gage toward the red zone. I used my soothing voice to reassure him as neon lights blinked from all directions, suitcase wheels rumbled from behind, beeps rung out from unidentifiable sources. And the smells. Multitudes of smells. Still, my star companion listened to my cues as I directed him through the scene. He stayed in his service role despite a nervous start and in the end, gave a stellar performance. The Team Tommy Travel Awards Excellence in Boarding: Tommy Practice paid off. I’d been backing and tucking Tommy between […]