Posts By: Aiden the Service Dog

My Travels, New Friends and Places

Have you ever heard the song, “I’ve Been Everywhere,” by Johnny Cash?

It came to Mom’s mind while she was helping me write this blog post. It’s almost officially summer and time for travels.

Here’s a few of mine in the past month or two, and some friends I’ve met.

I visited my cat friend, Todd, in Greeneville and I met a sweet lamb whom I gave a quick “hello” slurp.

The Gulf of Mexico had some really soft, white sand.

While I was there, I kissed a shark!

This pier was full of activity and while I sat there, some friendly dolphins surfaced behind me. Unfortunately, they were shy and disappeared quickly.

The same thing happened with a crane, but he flew off to better posts and I had to sit by this one instead.

We attended a Jesus Festival in Elizabethtown in Eastern Tennessee, where they have a historic covered bridge.

After all that, I’m glad to be home and enjoying my own chew bone on my favorite place to sleep, Mom’s bed!

PHEW! I better get some rest because the summer of travel is only beginning!

Beauties and the Beast

Now, I’m not one to call myself a beast, because I know I am a gentleman. But I recently met some of Tennessee’s finest royalty and had to control my furry heart.

Introducing my new gorgeous friends bound for greatness, Miss East Tennessee Teen, Mylee Doty, and Miss Historic Jonesborough Princess, Eliza Girton.

Both girls were excited about The Miss Tennessee Scholarship Competition, a part of the Miss America Organization, which is one of the nation’s leading achievement programs for young women.

You can check out the Miss Tennessee competition here.

I love meeting new people in my doggie sort of way – slurping them every chance I get.

In this picture, I had just surprised Mylie with a slurp to her cheek:

Dogs have various competitions, too, but they don’t involve crowns. The winners mostly receive ribbons, sashes and trophies for the owner to display and brag about.

I proudly wear my Dogs4Diabetics (D4D) jacket as a forever ambassador for a great cause.

But if there ever were a competition that involved doggie kisses, my tongue would be grand champion of slurping!

It’s My Birthday!

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.

Happy Spring and Learning New Things

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.

Visiting Dogs4Diabetics Center, Where My Old Pawprints Were Left

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.

She’s still as cute as ever. Mom was excited to hug Mark Ruefenacht, the founder of D4D, who just happened to be in town from his many work travels.

As we enjoyed catching up with the trainers at lunch, Mom was asked what she misses most from our move. She replied, “I miss my diabetic connections.”

Truly, D4D, its staff and clients that we both know and love, are irreplaceable. Mom just wishes she could move them close to us.

My doggy heart agrees.

Where a Dog Does His Business

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?

A Little Rubber Disc and Ducks

Recently I traveled to California, where Aunt Cindy took us to a hockey game.

I recognized the smells from the last time I visited.

From where we sat, I could barely see the rubber toy the players flung about on the ice below.

They were celebrating Chinese New Year with a party for the fans outside, where I sneaked in a kiss or two on some sweet cheerleaders.

In-between playtime periods, Mom introduced me to some over-the-top fans. One smelled suspiciously like my Uncle Rex, aka, Towel Man, complete with blinking lights.

Besides lots of people at this huge place, there were also ducks at this game, but I didn’t smell any feathers.

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.