January 4, 2013

Size Does Matter

My New Year’s resolve is to Live Large. I’m talking BIG.  Super Size. Double or nothing. I’m not referring to Hollywood-bling-private-jet enormity. What I mean involves basic bulk. In other words, wherever I go, there is substantially more of me. Twice as much and then some. And I’m not apologizing for it. In fact, I’m learning to delight in it. The truth is, living with SIr Thomas has introduced me to new experiences.  Many I could plan for. The one nuance I couldn’t have predicted – no matter how many books I read on Great Danes or neurologists I talked to about my PD symptoms – relates to size. Of course Tommy tips the scales at more poundage than I; heft is part of his service qualifications. Because he takes up substantial space alongside me, I can lean on him – quite literally. I knew it was big, this introduction of […]
November 29, 2012
What’s in a Name?
When I applied for a service dog, I prepared myself for much that I figured I’d face with my furry, four-legged cane. I never factored in the need for aliases. Not for me. For him. Names are special. Remember in kindergarten, when you stared down at the chunky crayon letters you wrote and it spelled your very own name? And how important it felt to see your name on labels throughout the classroom: on your cubby, lunchbox, folders? Names are personal.  Ask any parent, there’s likely a story behind the children’s names. And on the flip side, names carry adverse personality traits. We’ve all known a [fill in the blank] who rubbed us the wrong way and makes us shudder whenever we hear it. Tommy’s name is special in its own way. He learned it early on. Part of training the pups involves coming for a treat when the individual’s […]
November 15, 2012

Talk About Bullying

Sir Thomas’s brother lives with a twelve-year-old girl and her family.  He goes to school with her, both of them navigating the hallways of lockers, onlookers and, unfortunately, jokers. This girl’s story of life with her service dog winds its way around my heart not only because our dogs are related. In some ways, our stories are, too. When blood vessels burst inside my skull, I was twelve-years old.  My left side stopped moving and I spent a third of the seventh grade undergoing brain surgery, relearning how to walk and sleeping in the den (my room was on the second floor and managing stairs didn’t happen for a while). Each night, I willed back at least some of my long hair. A shaved head  might have been cool to my classmates. The U-shaped scar left over from the surgery, however, looked like a trap door to my gray matter. It was […]
November 8, 2012

Have Dog, Will Shop

Venturing Out Report #3: Shopping How We Did: Sir Thomas likes to shop. Sometimes, he gets ahead of me while we’re out on a walk.. Not so when shopping. Or, as I discovered, not so when there’s a shopping cart involved. Considering how many times I bashed the the plastic basket into his shoulder (by mistake!) or ran over a front paw with a wheel (by mistake, again!), he sticks by the side of the cart . We’ve been to the grocery store numerous times, the fabric shop and, among other places, the pharmacy (no surprise given the cocktail of meds one takes with PD). What I Learned: “Leave It” is a command we need to work on. He’s good, but I want better than that when we’re passing displays of coffee cake that happen to be exactly the same height as his head. And then there are the shelves stacked […]