October 13, 2013

Turning Heads in Montreal

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 […]
September 17, 2013

Mad About Service Dogs

My Parkinson’s diagnosis has thrown – heaved – perspective on my views of daily life. The irk-factor is one example. Degenerative disease, here: it takes more than a  movie talker or airplane seat kicker to set me off. When I do get annoyed, I clench. Jaw, fists, eyelids. It doesn’t happen often and when it does the yogi in me tries to breathe through it, let it go, talk it out. On occasion, I yell. If annoyed moves into crazy-angry mode, I curl into a fetal position and cry. It takes something monstrous from daily life to get me there. Remember: Degenerative disease here. Incurable. Well, I encountered my first service dog fake. Not only is it a challenge to type with my fingers curled, it’s hard to see the screen though this blur of tears. I knew about them, heard stories. They clip a service dog vest purchased online […]
September 11, 2013

Service Dogs and Parkinson’s at WPC 2013

If you’re curious about life with a Service Dog while living a life with PD, stop by the Round Table discussion at the World Parkinson Congress on Thursday afternoon, 3:30 – 5:00 at Table 9. Looking forward to co-hosting the discussion with Carolyn Weaver. See you in Montreal!   
September 6, 2013

Tommy or Fred?

When I venture out, either Sir Thomas steps along by my side or Fred is with me. But not both. Why not? Who’s Fred, and why don’t they get along? It’s a bit like apples/oranges comparison if apples sported four paws and oranges rolled about on two wheels. Years ago, my son dubbed the new triple bicycle Fred. We’ve carried a heavy load traveling with Fred and Bob (name of trailer hitched to the back of Fred). None of the luggage ever weighed in at 125 pounds, however. If I could figure out how to bring Tommy out with Fred, I would. Especially as Team Mama rides for Team Fox at the annual New England Parkinson’s Ride. Proceeds go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to fund research for treatments and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s. Who better to join Team Mama and their faithful support than the gentle giant who supports me everywhere […]