We hope that we haven’t worried you by our silence. We’ve been doing great. We’ve seen so much and had so many adventures. We’ve really been covering ground. Since we set off a month ago, we’ve driven more than 8,000 miles. Mummy sure has strong arms.
We wanted to share a really special time with you. On Friday, July 22, we took a glacier cruise out of the port of Whittier, Alaska. We drove down to Anchorage, from Fairbanks, the day before. Whittier is about 90 minutes from Anchorage. You used to be able to visit it only by boat or train. There are mountains between it and everything else. In the early 2000s, they decided to make the rail tunnel bimodal and have cars and trains both use it. It is the longest such tunnel (2.5 miles) in North America and able to withstand -40 Fahrenheit temps and 150 mph winds.
Once we got through the tunnel, we got to the cruise ship parking lot. It was raining and cold, but we were hopeful for an amazing time. Prince William Sound usually has some pretty foul weather. It’s really calm, though. Aunt Kimmy had joined us for part of our Alaska trip, so that made it even better.
The ship people were so nice. They moved seats for Mummy. We had a great table and view outside. They served a delicious lunch. And we saw amazing sights. They even made it possible for us to go outside on the deck at some points.
The weather cleared enough that we saw 26 glaciers! It’s sad that in the 10 years that the captain has been doing these cruises, the glaciers have retreated so much. We saw sea lions. We saw a humpback whale. We saw our favorites: sea otters. And we went close by a rookery for black-legged kittiwakes, a type of gull. We’ve included a photo of that. Look closely. It’s the largest such rookery on Prince William Sound. Boy are those gulls loud!
We would definitely give this an eight paw rating. If you have the chance, don’t miss it.
We know that we promised to be better about blogging. Life sort of happened for us. We set out on July 4, Independence Day. How cool is that?
We ran into computer problems right away. Mummy’s been trying to get them resolved since.
We’ve gone about 4,000 miles. We have had some really neat adventures. As we drove across the northern U.S., we were able to visit with some old friends along the way.
Our rooms have mostly been very nice. Mummy is documenting how accessible they are. We want everything to be just right for Mummy.
As we’ve gotten further west, the distance between our lodging stops has increased: lots of space out here.
You might wonder what we do all day while Mummy is driving. Uncle Al built a really neat dog couch for us that makes the backseat twice as deep as usual so that we can relax in style. We feel very comfortable in Miracle, our van. She is our home away from home.
We know that the days do get long for Mummy with all that driving. So we are working extra hard to take care of her.
Yesterday was a long day of driving. So today is a rest day. This morning we walked to a grocery store and got our favorites: carrots! You can’t conquer the world without carrots. Now we’re just hanging out while Mummy does some writing.
We have a few more provinces to go through before we reach Alaska. So we better rest up.
Hello, Everyone. Saint and Dusty here! We’re sorry that we haven’t blogged in quite a while. We promise to try to do better.
We’ve been really busy getting ready for our big adventure. Abi helped us a lot during this past academic year. There was so much planning to be done. Since school let out in May, we have been working hard to implement many of the plans. We have to take most of our food and medicine with us. We have been doing LOTS of packing. Actually, Mummy does the packing. But we help by watching her—we think that it encourages her.
Last week we had the chance to do a little trial run for our big trip. It was our first trip outside of Maine in a long time. First we stopped and gave our van, Miracle, a spa day at Mobility Works. She felt re-energized after that. Then we went onto Boston.
While we were in Boston, we went to see Mummy’s doctor at Mass General, Dr. Gomery. During the pandemic, Mummy had only been able to meet with him through Zoom. It was really great to see him again. He’s a good doctor. And he loves us: Saint and Dusty. Mummy took a cute photo of us all to share.
Afterwards, we were able to go see Mummy’s sister, Aunt Sharon. Because of the pandemic, we hadn’t been able to see her for a few years, either. Aunt Sharon is really good to us. She had a feeding station for us with lots of fresh water and plenty of carrots. We even got to see Aunt Sharon’s daughter, Megan, her husband, Brian, and their little boys. We loved playing with the little boys. And wow, did Dusty ever run around like a wild critter in their fenced backyard!
Things went so well and it was such good practice for the upcoming big trip. Please stay tuned for more on that next week.
Hello, Everyone. Saint and Dusty here. We know—it’s been way too long since we blogged with you. Like you, for the last few years, we’ve just been trying to chug along through the pandemic.
But things are looking up! Spring is coming to Aroostook County. The grass is getting green and it’s lovely to be able to go out and lie in the sun. That makes us feel like puppies.
Recently, UMPI had its first onsite graduation in two years. It was wonderful to celebrate the hard work and success of so many students. It did make us a little sad that they are now leaving the nest. But that’s the way it should be.
We’re also super excited that we will be leaving on a big adventure in July. It’s going to be, as Dusty would say, AMAZING! We promise to do our best to blog along the way. So please follow along with us in this space.
Hello everybody and welcome to the If You Can, You Must podcast series. In our first episode, we will meet Dr. Lowman from the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Dr. Lowman has two service dogs and is an expert on the Americans with Disabilities Act. She makes the perfect first guest for our service dog and social justice podcast. Listen as we share stories, and discuss the ADA.
In this episode, we discuss removing “no” from your vocabulary. Both guests have inspiring stories about the work they’ve done to fight for social justice. Pam’s daughter Nicole can’t see, but Pam wasn’t going to let a disability stop Nicole from reading. And Dr. Lowman has a lifetime of battles living with a disability that have helped shape her into the teacher she is today. Both are full of stories and were kind enough to share them with us on If You Can, You Must’s second episode.
In this episode of If You Can, You Must, we meet Kristin Hartness from Canines for Disabled Kids. CDK is an organization that pairs service dogs with children, and Kristin plays an enormous role with the organization. Additionally, she uses a service dog and advocates for other people with disabilities. Kristin’s expertise and stories are sure to provide listeners with a treat. Sit back and enjoy our conversation about all things service dog.
The theme of this episode of If You Can, You Must is first impressions. We meet Tiffany Smith and Melanee Terry who are both classmates of the host and students of Dr. Lowman. Our conversations lead to sharing memories of our initial encounters with service dogs, and they extend to what we know now. I hope this episode entertains and teaches viewers through the perspectives of apprentices in the service dog industry.
My favorite holiday is almost here: Thanksgiving Day. I don’t concern myself with the
history of the day, but wow is the food good. I’m a big supporter of any holiday that encourages
snacks. When Mummy, Dusty and I were in the store the other day, I saw a whole bunch of
people with carts full of pies and turkeys. Those people’s dogs are so lucky. My mummy hasn’t
made turkey since I was little and Gramma was still with us. I couldn’t help but drool at the
thought of my very own turkey.
As much as I am excited about the food, I’m also kind of sad for Thanksgiving this year.
Usually, we go back to school after Thanksgiving and I get to tell all my friends about our holiday. But this year, I heard we don’t get to come back until next semester. I just know I’m going to miss my friends so much, especially the ones who are graduating. Dusty doesn’t know it yet, but having been in school for a long time now, I know how hard it is to say goodbye. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to think about what I’m thankful for. I think I’ve
got it narrowed down to a pretty good list, too. First, I’m very grateful for carrots. They are my
favorite treat, and I’ll do just about anything to get one. Next, I’m super thankful that Mummy
didn’t get another service dog this year. It was bad enough last year when we brought Dusty
home. Now I’ve got to share all of my stuff with her, and she doesn’t let me have any privacy.
She better not expect to get any of my Thanksgiving snacks. I mean, I do love her–she’s my
little sister after all. But boy, sometimes she can really tire me out.
The last thing I am thankful for is my family. I don’t know where I would be without
Mummy, and together we have done so many amazing things. I get to come to school every day and see my kids, and nobody minds my snoring, either. I think I’ve got a pretty good life. So for
the most part, you won’t hear any complaints out of this old service dog this Thanksgiving.
Hi friends: Dusty here. Saint and I have had a great semester so far. We have loved seeing all
our friends. When everyone came back to UMPI this fall, Saint and I were over the moon.
Mummy had some worries that we might not have a semester together because of this COVID-
19 stuff. But Saint and I knew our friends would find their way back here.
Quarantine this summer was weird for us service dogs. We’re used to the hustle and bustle of
Mummy’s everyday life. It was nice to be home, but also not the normal we are used to. When
we heard that our friends would for sure be coming back for classes in the fall, we were so excited. I suppose we just didn’t realize how fast Thanksgiving would be here.
Mummy says that our friends won’t be back until the spring. Saint keeps telling me it’ll be OK, but I’m sad. I’ve had fun guessing who’s who behind the masks, which made me nervous at first. I miss not seeing my friends smile when they laugh. I’m going to miss their being here even more, though.
Saint told me that we’ll still be able to see all our friends over Zoom. I remember sitting in on
Mummy’s Zoom classes at the start of quarantine. It’s weird because we can hear all our friends,
but we can’t smell them. I suppose though that Saint is right, it will be OK.
We look forward to spring semester together and seeing everyone again. Until then, we hope
that you remember to keep washing your hands and practice social distancing. If you feel sick,
stay home. We’re going to get through these extraordinary times together.