August 23, 2012

Never Fear

I feel as though I’m cheating on my old girl, Elsie, when I leave her to go spend time with a younger dog: Sir Thomas. A thirteen-year-old border collie mix, Elsie is the first dog I’ve raised from puppyhood. She was full-grown the day she wagged to greet me as I returned home with my Parkinson’s diagnosis. Well into old age now, she still blinks open an eye (or two) each of the ridiculous number of times I wake during the night. On those nights, I give her extra neck scratches. On some of those nights, when the occasional meltdown renders me teary-eyed, Elsie is there, the lone guest at my pity parties. We’re both getting creaky. She a bit more so than I. Her time is limited. And while the yogi in me knows that all of us are here for a limited time, I’m acutely aware of her […]
August 22, 2012

Diary of Sir Thomas

This is the story of a dog who helps me live in balance while living with a movement disorder.
August 22, 2012

Getting to Know You

Sir Thomas still lives on the farm with his fabulous trainer. While he passed the Good Citizen test with lots of drool to spare, he’s still learning. And while he is, we’re both taking time to learn all about each other. Like The King and I:. Getting to know you… I stop by the farm. I brush his short black coat, he leans on me for more. Getting to like you…. I work with the trainer.  We place his collar and vest on him and practice walking, turning, navigating. I lean on him. Getting to hope you like me… Between visits, I smile and hum to myself: All the beautiful and new things I’m learning about you, day by day.  
August 21, 2012

Going to the Dogs

Living with Parkinson’s requires flexibility. Yes, yes, a yoga instructor would of course make such a statement. Even as — or especially as —  rigidity tries its finest to win the physical battle against my Warrior poses. But armed with an upward-facing dog, I stand my ground. Really. A real dog. That’s where the  flexibility comes in. Dogs are pets, right? Guide dogs are for the visually impaired, yes? Service dogs are for, well, service, like opening doors and such, isn’t that true? Right. Yes. And true. But some dogs are also trained specifically for the ever-stiffening, balance-challenged among us. These four-legged companions can extend the physical capabilities that we need to draw on in the various roles of our lives so we can stay active in those roles, from work to parenting to the arts to teaching yoga classes. In being flexible and open, I find I’m fighting for […]