A Preview of Rare Disease Day 2014

A Preview of Rare Disease Day 2014

My dog’s getting into the spirit of the day! Actually, he just really likes to hold things so I capitalized on that in this instance. Tomorrow I’m going to Sacramento, CA with many other rare disease advocates from across the state, along with the National Organization for Rare Disorders and the Global Genes Project. We’re not going on Friday the 28th (which is Rare Disease Day) because the legislature is not in session then… so we’re being prompt! I’m really excited to see what we can do collaboratively to advocate the cause of rare disease funding, care and research.

One Year!

One Year!

I could write a long-winded post… but this picture speaks for itself.

Spent a wonderful day at Canine Companions for Independence Northwest Region Graduation/Matriculation yesterday, watching ten new teams graduate and catching up with people including Cassius’ puppyraiser. I love how much Cassius loves “his” people, no matter how long it’s been since he’s seen them. If you love him, Cassius loves you. The ceremony always fills me with renewed hope, and a passion to volunteer and spread awareness of the amazing things this community does.

But really, Cassius has made this past year and my life so much better. He’s an awesome sidekick, a wonderful help, and will always bring a bit of levity to my life. You can’t help but smile when confronted with 70 pounds of wagging goofiness. Here’s to many more.

Canine Miscellany


A few rather un-related dog things of interest: ThreadStart, an apparel crowdfunding site, has paired with Canine Companions for Independence and produced this wonderful design. I love it, especially since I do think these dogs (and all service dogs) are indeed heros in their own right. What they do is so diverse, depending on the needs of their partners, but their loyalty and joy are truly heroic. I picked up a shirt, because a. you can’t have too many dog t-shirts, apparently and b. I love the design so much! I will wear it proudly.

And in other news:


If you’ve been watching the Olympics on NBC, you have probably seen the promos for a new television show called “Growing Up Fisher” – featuring a father who is blind and has a (really cute) guide dog. I myself am particularly fond of the one where it cuts to the dog acting as an ice hockey goalie.

I probably don’t have to tell you how abysmal the overall depiction of characters with disabilities is on television. It’s just… bad. I have measured hopes for this one, from the previews it looks really, really funny. I hope it lives up to its potential for a comedic take on life with a disability.

And I hope the dog gets lots of screen time!

Parties, Christmas, Birthday & Other Festivities!

Rather spent from life’s happenings but here is a mostly-photographic chronicle of the last week or so.

First holidays with the dog went wonderfully, he loved all the extra socializing and took everything in stride.

He celebrated his third birthday today with walks, lots of attention, and a Bigfoot stuffed toy from his puppyraisers!

I got a library job, found an apartment to rent, and survived nearly a week with the family!








I am excited for what 2014 will bring.

International Assistance Dog Week: There’s a dog for that!

International Assistance Dog Week: There's a dog for that!

This wins for best tag line!

Having not just one but a few different medical conditions, I kind of feel sometimes like I’m inundated with awareness weeks and months: apparently there are now two different ones for craniofacial conditions, a day for Rare Diseases in February, Moebius syndrome in January, and probably one sometime for alopecia areata – which has been in remission for so long I don’t keep up with their events!

But anyway, this week is International Assistance Dog Week. It’s great that it’s being celebrated so that all different types of dogs, handlers and teams can be recognized – from more traditional guide dogs and dogs that help people with mobility impairments to seizure and diabetes alert/response dogs, dogs for people on the autism spectrum, and therapy dogs working in a variety of settings.

There are several events and demonstrations happening, if you have any questions or are interested in how an assistance dog might work for you or your family… think about attending one of these (or commenting below, I’ll try my best to answer!)

Channeling the dog

My dog knows how to relax.

He likes to sleep. A lot. And not the cat-napping kind of sleep I’m accustomed to… he is more a snaring, sleep-barking kind of guy. He wakes up with the most deliriously contented with life expression, ready for his next adventure (even if that only involves choosing where to nap next).

No one told me of my dog’s enduring love affair with his crate, and I was actually a little alarmed when he first crated himself for a nap(really, he can’t hate me already?!) But I was soon reassured that his desire to just hang out in his crate is something he’s done since puppyhood.

He has his routine now: at night he alternates between his dog bed in my bedroom and the crate around the corner. I think he likes both equally. We get up and hang out a bit, and while he waits for 7 am (Breakfast time!)… he self-crates. I don’t know if he thinks he can best control his poor hungry tummy from there or what, but he hangs out there until he knows it’s time to (finally!) eat. Same with after walks, he self-crates when he needs a good nice long nap!

Since I’m probably the human equivalent of a high-strung, high-drive retriever, it’s probably good that my dog is the opposite. He shows me the value of sometimes just hanging out and resting and recharging… something we all need to remember!