Parkinson

Lessons from the Dog *

* My service dog is dying from T-cell lymphoma. He’s teaching me how to say that in dog-speak: My service dog is living in the moment.

The prognosis for canine T-cell lymphoma is bleak. – Service dog handler’s thought bubble
Ooh, a bug. Aah, warm sun.  – Service dog’s thought bubble

For nearly three years, my service dog has provided balance for me, he’s my Dane in lieu of a cane. I hold onto him to steady my Parkinson’s gait. His training taught him to walk in step with me because if he lurched or lingered, I’d surely take a tumble.

  For the past two months, my service dog has provided balance for me in another way, serving me yet again. While he’s the one undergoing blood tests and biopsies, he helped me up and steadied me after I tumbled, not physically but emotionally. I’d lurched into the grim future of his prognosis and lingered in the tears of what will be an incredibly short visit on this earth.

He’s been teaching me to continue beside him, but at his pace, which has no past or future, only now. His cadence flows from moment to moment. The moment is now, and right now, we still have each other.

  Lessons one and two:

Whenever possible, dine with friends and eat with gusto.

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