As a diabetic alert dog, time is something I don’t understand. But apparently, I have walked through another human year and turn eight years old.
I love birthdays.
I know the sound of the song well. In fact, when I am in the company of someone who is having a birthday and the song is sung, my ears perk up.
I look around for the treats I am about to eat, but only get a regular kibble from Mom. Oh, well. I’m never disappointed when I get something from the treat bag.
Everyone says I’m getting old because I have some grey whiskers showing up on my chin. But most people think my brindle coloring is me turning grey.
Mom politely tells people it’s a rare genetic defect that gives me the look of muddy or grey paws and face.
Mom has a genetic defect too. But she quickly tells them it’s to her benefit since I’m extremely handsome because of it.
The thing about birthdays is, I get something called presents. Mom doesn’t wrap them up like she would for humans because I am not a destructive dog. I could never tear up paper or even de-stuff a toy, for that matter.
I live with an older small dog who would, and he will steal my new toys, but that’s for another story.
Until then, I’m going to enjoy this birthday thing and hope it lasts a long time.
Where I live, spring is in the air, but with a little nip of winter. I’m not sure what to think as the temperature and weather change from day to day.
I was really excited to have a mother robin nesting in the eaves of our second-floor balcony.
But sadly, her first nest hit the ground and now Mom uses it for decoration.
That didn’t stop a persistent bird from building another nest. I hope to hear the happy sound of peeping baby robins soon.
Now for new things.
Mom found these funny-sounding buttons at a thrift store.
She’s watched other animals using them on Facebook, similar to these but with more choices. I guess she thought I needed to learn how to talk. I do my job quietly, but sometimes I moo like a cow when I really want her attention.
I think Mom’s idea is to train me on more human words, but for now I like the sound of this button the best because it gets me the most treats.
Since moving, I haven’t had many dog interactions; Lola was a recent exception.
Find Lola’s story here (part 1) and here (part 2).
Our trip to California was full of family and friends and one huge piece of business: My recertification with Dogs4Diabetics.
Every year I get an annual vet visit, update shots and get a health clearance. Mom fills out a questionnaire and we go to D4D to meet with Carrie, the lead trainer. She gives Mom advice as they talk about my behavior. I perform obedience skills in public in order to pass for another year.
There were many familiar smells and my nose was overloaded from sniffing. I loved catching up with old furry friends, especially my girlfriend Wolfie.
Traveling is always an adventure for me, especially flying. I don’t require a seat but curl up under the seat in front of Christy like a carry-on item.
I don’t mind because I’ve been trained to do it this way. Sometimes a whole row of seats is available, and we both get to stretch out.
Airports are getting better at having relief stations for service dogs. My favorite is at the Orange County John Wayne International airport.
It takes you outside, but you are still within a secure area. When we exit the plane, I know where we are and hurry Christy along to what I think is the perfect place for humans to take their companions.
I can run and play and take care of personal business.
There was a cool relief room in Houston:
However, Christy was disappointed because Nashville Airport had one area, but we would have to go through TSA again. (Christy told you how she feels about that in this month’s newsletter.)
She was happy I didn’t get a big breakfast that morning so we could make it to our next stop. It takes some planning and I feel hungrier than normal.
Speaking of hunger, can I just mention how jet lag affects my schedule?
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.”
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.