Posts By: Aiden the Service Dog

Natural Fur Coats Can Only Do So Much to Keep a Dog Warm

Even though I (Aiden, the service dog) have a natural fur coat to keep me warm, Mom has bundled me up lately.

I guess the cold streak that recently went through Tennessee is not a normal phenomenon. In fact, we were told it hasn’t been this cold in more than thirty years.

It was so cold, the plants on the enclosed porch froze up and the windows were all frosted over.

Mom was sad that her favorite succulent, which she covered up every night, didn’t make it.

Every so often Mom needs to go to the post office and this particular day, there was a sign at the top of the stairs that I had to take a closer look at.

Being a dog, I can’t read, but Mom told me it had to do with the cold and warning people to be careful going up the steps.

This photo was taken from inside, where it stayed warm on the morning it snowed.

But it wasn’t the kind of snow I like where you could make a snowball and play catch.

I’m hoping we will get more snow this winter so I can play in it and have lots of fun. But I hope it’s not so cold!

So Many Santas (A Service Dog’s Perspective on Christmas)

I really enjoyed my Christmas season, exploring new places and meeting new friends and people everywhere I went with Christy.

My nose has been working overtime, smelling the scents of the season. Everywhere we have gone, I’ve met Santa Claus. The first place was at the mall.

Santa is a very nice man that I sniffed very closely and found to smell like cologne and candy canes.

Christy and I explored downtown Morristown and its variety of specialty shops and local businesses. Outside one of the shops, I met Santa again.

He smelled different from when I met him in the mall. His face was younger looking, and his beard smelled of synthetic fibers and aftershave.

Mom and I walked across the street to a bookstore. In the window I found the real reason for Christmas.

It is no wonder the Santas I met smelled differently. They were actors, portraying a mythical man. But as I sat in front of the bookstore window’s display, Mom gave me a treat and said, “This is why we celebrate Christmas.”

I wagged my tail as my doggy heart agreed.

Hurray for Dollywood!

As a service dog, I go everywhere. I’m having a blast exploring Tennessee. Recently we were invited to go to an amusement park called Dollywood.

It was a cold November night, but worth an adventure. I could hear happy-sounding music as we walked around. Dolly has a sweet voice and I’m certain she loves dogs, especially the official service kind.

Christmas decorations and beautiful lights were everywhere.

We rode on a real coal-driven train around the park at night to see some amazing light displays. I didn’t like the loud train whistle, but Mom made sure I was comfortable by giving me lots of treats.

We walked around a lot and Mom had just gotten a new insulin pump that day so her numbers were all over as she adjusted to new settings. I’m always on the job and alerted five times in less than five hours!

It’s a good thing she had lots of treats for me, but she ran out of sugar supplies for herself. Thankfully, Dad bought her some of Dollywood’s famous cinnamon bread with an extra tub of frosting.

We spent the evening enjoying the park with friends from our new church. Thanks, Kathy and Carter Trigg, for treating us to a special evening.

Knead These Donuts

It’s the time of year for sweet treats and I’m looking forward to having a few myself. Of course, they are the kind of treats a dog can eat. No people treats for me.

One day Mom and I visited a donut shop near us that has been voted the best one in our area for a few years, according to a poll taken by the local newspaper. It’s called Knead Donuts.

A sign on the door displays the shop’s hours from opening until they run out.

From what I hear, they are on high demand and sell out quickly.

I’m on a strict diet to stay in shape and there are rules a service dog must follow like ‘no table scraps.’ That’s okay, though. I get plenty of awesome duck jerky when I correctly alert my mom to a low blood sugar.

But today, Knead Donuts gave me a doggy donut.

I’m certain we’ll return to this dog-friendly shop for more tasty treats.

What’s With This Strange Little Cube?

I love parties, especially the birthday kind.

My ears perk up and I get excited to hear the birthday song because I remember when it was first sung to me, and I know special treats are involved.

But this time, I didn’t get treats because it was not my birthday. It was Michael’s and he loves something called a Rubik’s Cube.

Mom brought her mixed up 25-year-old cube to Michael and he solved it within seconds. She called him a genius. I had to sniff out one of these cubes for myself.

I’m not sure what the draw is for this weird-looking toy. My paws can’t do anything with it. Since it doesn’t dispense treats or squeak and would be hard on my teeth if I chewed on it, I’m going to leave the solving of this cube to humans.

Can You Smell Fall?

There aren’t many colors a dog can see, but I can certainly smell them.

Mom says it’s autumn and that’s why the trees are losing their leaves and I am trampling them under my paws. We have some very tall and old trees at our house and a blanket of leaves covers our front yard.

Outside it smells of decaying leaves, fresh rain, and squishy black mud. Mom dries me off after I’ve done my business in the rain. I leave muddy paw prints on the doormat.

The mornings are colder and Mom lets me up on the bed to snuggle before she gets up to start her day. I can tell the season is changing.

We took another road trip to Cumberland Gap where Mom left me in another state!

Another day we drove to North Carolina, and I saw elk for the first time.

Elk are really big creatures that we kept our distance from because the male had antlers you wouldn’t want to tangle with. He also was trying to get a girlfriend and made a long, loud noise like a dying squeaky toy.

Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying the smells and sounds of fall as much as I am.

What’s the Fuss About Dressing Up? My Doggy Thoughts on Halloween

I’m not sure what Halloween means. I’m a dog. It’s just another day for me. But Mom has decked out the house in what she calls “fall” and celebrates the change in seasons.

All I know about this Halloween thing is it’s colder outside and I want to snuggle more, and people wear costumes, putting their fur-babies in crazy outfits, too. Mom joins in on the silliness by dressing me up.

Does this shirt make me look like I’m a country dog?

We’re going to a little girl’s birthday party and I’m Mom’s escort to a tea party. Do I look handsome enough?

This next photo isn’t really a costume. But I get to dry off in my cozy, warm robe after my bath.

I once did a photo shoot for a fundraiser involving Elvia for Dogs for Diabetics. What do you think of this one?

My all-time favorite was when I was Elvis and Mom, the Vegas sign. We won first place in the contest.

I don’t mind dressing up so much. It could be worse. Mom could dress me up as a cat!

No matter whether you dress up or now, or however you celebrate this day, I wish for you to have a safe time to enjoy the fall, y’all!

Aiden (woof! chomp!)

P.S. Leave me a comment and tell me which picture is your favorite.

Getting to Know Tennessee

Aiden and dog sculpture

Many of my readers have wondered how I’m doing in Tennessee. Well, I’ll tell all y’all with a few pictures.

First of all, Mom takes me everywhere, so I get to explore places with millions of new smells. So, you know, my nose is busy. Yet I still keep track of the most important scent of all, Mom’s blood sugar.

We went to Cumberland Gap and did a little hiking, so Mom’s blood sugar dropped. I think she was taking a picture of the cannon behind us when I caught her attention with my alert.

Aiden at Cumberland Gap

For Mom’s birthday, we explored downtown Knoxville, where I found this extra-large dog stuck in play-mode.

Aiden and dog sculpture

He smelled like metal, but that’s because he’s made of chains! Poor boy! He can’t ever reach his ball.

According to Mom, the main street was filled with history, including the Tennessee theatre behind me, where she said a lot of musicians got their start.

Aiden in downtown Knoxville

One day I got to meet a guy called Elvis. I guess he’s someone famous. He sang to Mom and called her “darlin,’” and kissed her hand. Oh! Mom! Really! If I wasn’t covered in fur, you’d see me blush!

Christy, Elvis, and Aiden

No matter where we go, I always try to squeeze in a nap. It’s not always a place where I can spread out, but I’m used to fitting in small spaces from my early training days. I know I’ll get a chance to stretch later.

Aiden sleeping in passenger seat

Mom Takes Me Everywhere

Fish Hotel

As a dog, I love adventures. As summer comes to an end, my doggy heart fondly considers some of the fun things I encountered in our travels.

Fish Hotel

I was nearly swallowed by a fish hotel.

Fish Hotel

We also encountered a giant Swedish horse (or Dala, as they call it).

Swedish horse

Mom has a few small ones of these in her kitchen as she says they represent her heritage.

There was this blue ox named Babe and her master, Paul Bunyan, that I met in Bemidji, Minnesota. I just wish they had a dog for me to play with.

Paul Bunyan

There is a famous factory in Mom’s hometown, and I got to take a tour of it. They make cats of some kind, but I didn’t see any and the ones they make don’t have fur.

Aiden and Arctic Cat

We explored Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where the biggest breakfast in town is served.

Aiden in front of big skillet

Then one day while Mom shopped for a new bed, I took a nap in a giant’s recliner.

Aiden sleeping on large chair

I enjoy adventures, but sometimes, all I want to do is hang out at home. Mom says I’m becoming a true Southern dog, enjoying our front porch.

Aiden on porch swing

Water-Logged Dog

Christy waving with Aiden on rock in river

Aiden sitting on shoreThose of you who know me know how much I hate water.

When I first came to live with Christy, she had to smear peanut butter on the shower wall in order for me to get in the tub. Recently, we went on a long road trip where I encountered some water.

Christy’s BFF Janell took us and my furry friends, Cody and Frankie, to a place called Lake Superior. I stood, paws at the edge of the water and looked it over.

This lake thing reminded me of the ocean except there were no waves crashing and roaring.

I was having so much fun running in the sand, chasing my friends, when…

three dogs on beach

…I suddenly found myself in the water up to my knees! Mom was surprised. I was too.

A couple of days later, Mom insisted on taking me to the Mississippi River Headwaters at Itasca State Park in Minnesota.

Mississippi River sign

She told me I could walk in the water to cross the Mighty Mississippi. That didn’t mean anything to me. All I heard was “water” and she wasn’t talking about getting a drink.

When I saw the log bridge, I knew walking across the trickling water would be easy, but then we went down a trail and I spied a row of rocks sticking out of the water. Uh-oh, I think my paws are going to get wet. What if I slip?

Christy leading Aiden across log bridge

Mom told me she slipped the last time she was here, but she made sure the rocks weren’t slippery this time. She stepped in the water, tennis shoes and all, and I followed willingly.

Christy and Aiden crossing river - from behind

At every rock, Mom gave me a treat.

Christy waving with Aiden on rock in river

I was in water again and my paws were soaked, but I was walking in the water to cross the great Mississippi River.

Having conquered two water attractions on this vacation and enjoyed them, I can call myself a true Minnesota tourist.

Christy and Aiden on rock in Mississippi River