Mildred and the monkey
(Sarasota, Florida, USA)
Hannah laughing at Mildred
Since moving to Sarasota, FL, which was made famous for John Ringling's winter headquarters being here for years, a friend bought Mildred a special "welcome" present...a little circus monkey that she can take for rides.
As a service dog, she has been taught from early on that if she is wearing something on her back she is working. So, this monkey by itself makes her think she is working and on my good days it is her only "uniform". We have gotten so many looks, laughs and giggles!
In the picture you can see my husband's service dog, Hannah, laughing at her sister (at least I think that is what she was doing). Mildred looks thrilled doesn't she? Actually, she has gotten used to it and realizes that people love the monkey.
Vicki thanks for this lovely photo and great story to go with it - I will add it to Mildred's page! Also, be sure to look for her photo in the November show on our home page. Jo
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Mildred the Service Dog Does Double Duty
by Viki Gentilman
My girl Mildred is amazing...she has learned to work not only for me but also for my hubby. She is incredible at medical alert and keeps busy alerting to problems between the two of us.
When hubby (Billy) had a stroke in November 2012, she quickly picked up that he was having more than Parkinson's symptoms and was watchful if he dropped anything, became "frozen" or was unsteady. Since my MS has gotten much worse and I am often in a wheelchair, she feels better about being able to work for him. But she always asks! She will look at me, then him, then me...until I tell her to "go to daddy".
As I write this we are in a library and she has her head on his foot. There is research that shows that a touch on the foot will keep a Parkinson's patient from "freezing" (not being able to move forward or concentrate)...He is able to work on the computer without wasting time!
Hannah, Billy's service dog, (a Great Pyrenees) is learning to cope with the tropics of South Florida -- not easy with all that hair. She does wonderful work as well. We do love our girls!
Hello again, Viki. It's good to hear from you and learn more about how you and Billy are doing and the assistance you receive from your wonderful dogs - thanks to the dogs' natural medical alert abilities as well as the training you put in. Sorry to hear your MS has worsened to where you are in a wheelchair more often.
Sounds like Billy recovered quite well from his stroke but that there is Parkinson's to contend with. It's a good thing that you already had Hannah. Interesting that Mildred lying on his foot helps with controlling some of the problems associated with Parkinson's.
You are an inspiration to me for always presenting an upbeat attitude with all the challenges you face. I am sure that you encourage others as well. All the best to you both and the dogs - thanks for writing and please let us know how things are going whenever you can. Jo