May 15, 2013

Can I Pet Your Dog? A Lesson in Trust

— Maybe — No — Yes — All of the Above Maybe My first dog, a stray from the SPCA, loved kids, other dogs, watching TV, banana bread and the UPS delivery man who left her a cookie with each package. Her eyes lay somewhere under a shaggy mass of gray and white wiry hair, the white often times a dirty shade of gray. Jessie swam in puddles, rolled in dead stuff on the beach and hated baths. The scruffier she got, the more friends and strangers wanted to pet her. Though she was the ultimate Family Dog, I’d alert anyone asking to pet her that hand wipes might be needed. No The next dog to come home with me hailed from the same shelter but couldn’t have been more different. This German Shepherd cross had a smooth dark coat, my-what-big-ears-you-have ears and an ability to launch himself at the […]
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
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 […]