Thanking Mummy’s Dad at Sainte Anne de Beaupre

Dusty and Saint on the Grounds of the Shrine at Sainte Anne de Beaupre, Quebec, Canada. The Weather There Cleared for Us Just in Time: 8.18.2022

Hello Everyone!  Saint and Dusty here.

Anyone who knows Mummy at all knows that her daddy was a huge influence on her.  She always says that anything that she has achieved she owes to him.  We thought about him a lot on our trip.  We know that he would have been so excited about our adventures.

When Mummy was a very little person, her daddy took her mummy, her sister, and Mummy on a trip to Quebec.  One of the highlights was a visit to the basilica at Sainte Anne de Beaupre. 

Mummy had always wanted to go back.  Since we were traveling through Quebec on our way home to Maine and would be staying only a few hours from the shrine, this seemed like the perfect time to visit. 

The weather was not good the day that we went: Thursday, August 18, 2022.  It was raining really hard and foggy.  We had to drive through Quebec City, which had lots of road construction.  But Mummy was determined.  And amazingly enough, when we got to Sainte Anne de Beaupre, the weather cleared!  It didn’t get really sunny, but we were able to walk around the grounds and savor the beautiful views, as well as explore the inside of the basilica. 

The basilica is old.  They have made some real efforts to make it accessible to everyone.  We were able to see quite a lot.  We tagged along with a group that was getting a tour in English.  It was wonderful to learn the history of the shrine and what so many of the artifacts mean. 

The only thing that we took exception to was the mosaics of the seven deadly sins in the floor.  We specifically objected to the illustration of Envy.  They depicted a dog!  Can you believe it?  All the dogs we know are very kind and generous.

This excursion meant a lot to Mummy.  She wanted to thank her dad for the good life that his faith and support of her has made possible.  We bet that he was smiling down during our whole visit.

Driving back to our hotel, the weather was awful again.  But we got back safely.  And the weather didn’t matter.  We had done what we set out to do.  So we brought the sunshine with us. 

We have a photo of the mosaic with the dogs symbolizing envy.  But we would rather share a photo of us outside on the lovely grounds of the shrine.

Until next time.  Take care.  Be well.  Hugs and wags.

Dusty and Saint

An Unexpected Jewel

Saint and Dusty by Kinross Pond, Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Catching Some Sun. The Lake and Fountain Are in the Background--8.16.2022.

Hello Everyone!  Saint and Dusty here.

When people ask us how we decide to stay where we do on our trips, we explain that the answer is simple.  We need to stay in a hotel that is wheelchair accessible.  The vast majority of hotels still are not.  That always kind of shocks people when we tell them.  There’s a lot that goes into accessibility.  We won’t go into the details here. But if you would like to learn more, we are happy to share. 

If you’re going through a less populated area, you are going to have fewer options.  So those days of driving were longer, since we needed to get to the next stop that was wheelchair accessible.  That’s how we wound up making a reservation for the Microtel in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, for 8/15/2022-8/17/2022.  We knew that there was a lake in Kirkland Lake (hence the name).  But that was about it.

Kirkland Lake was a wonderful surprise.  The lake attracts people to fish and do water sports—none of which we do.  But there were other fantastic features.  Kirkland Lake is a lovely little city.  It’s immaculate.  Within a short roll of our hotel is an amazing monument to labor (mining), beautifully landscaped. 

The people who work at the hotel could not have been nicer. They were very, very interested in what we do and in service dogs in general.  This was a great teaching opportunity. 

Mummy asked the staff if there were a nice park where she could take us.  That’s how we found Kinross Pond. 

Kinross Pond is a treasure.  It’s a few blocks off the main street, which is the Trans Canada Highway.  But those few blocks take you to another world.  The pond has a fountain in the middle.  It is surrounded by marsh grasses.  There is a paved loop around the pond.  There are inviting benches periodically so that people can rest and contemplate.  There are markers every so often around the loop that give you the history of Kirkland Lake and tell you about some of its significant residents and events. 

When we went, it was lunchtime.  So we saw a small cross-section of the community.  There were people who seemed to be taking a break from work.  There were children on the playground.  There was a family having a picnic.  There was a very elderly man having his daily constitutional.  Boy, was he moving!  Several people brought their dogs there.

Here’s a photo of us relaxing by the pond.  It was pretty warm that day, as you can tell.  Behind us, in the distance, you can see the fountain in the pond.  This truly was an unexpected gem.

Until next time.  Take care.  Be well.  Hugs and wags.

Saint and Dusty

A Jungle in Thunder Bay

Saint and Dusty at the Centennial Botanical Conservatory, Thunder Bay, Ontario--8.14.2022

Hello, Everyone!  Saint and Dusty here.

When you think of Ontario, Canada, your first thought might not be of a jungle.  But that’s exactly what we found during our stay in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  On Sunday, August 14, 2022, we went to the Centennial Botanical Conservatory.  The conservatory was a project by the Fort William Parks Board.  It opened in 1967 and is a legacy to the citizens of Thunder Bay.  It is open year round.  It must feel amazing to step into the jungle setting in the middle of winter.

We went on a quiet, rainy Sunday.  We were the only people inside.  We took our time, checked out everything, took lots of photos.  Because of COVID, the cactus house wing was closed—people would be packed in awfully close.  But we could see in. 

Mummy let us climb up on a couple of benches along the way.  You can get tired walking through a jungle.  The benches are very thoughtfully placed to encourage people to sit, enjoy, meditate.  The plants are labeled so that people can learn.  They really must like it in the conservatory—some of them are really, really tall.

In the summer, the outside grounds are also very lovely, filled with gardens and bee hives.  Even though it was rainy, we truly enjoyed strolling around.  It was so peaceful.

We are including a photo of us, a closeup of us on a bench.  Dusty really likes to rest her head on Saint.  And Saint, being a good big sister, lets her.

Sometimes we hear people saying, “It’s a jungle out there.”  We wonder if they’re talking about the Centennial Botanical Conservatory in Thunder Bay?

Until next time.  Take care.  Be well.  Hugs and wags.

Saint and Dusty

Spinner Knobs and Human Rights

Mummy and the Girls--Canadian Museum for Human Rights--Israel Asper Tower of Hope--Winnipeg, Manitoba--8.12.2022

Hello, Everyone!  Saint and Dusty here.

Mummy drives our van, Miracle, using hand controls.  There is no driver’s seat.  Mummy deploys a ramp, rolls up it into Miracle, folds up the ramp, and locks into the driver seat space in her wheelchair to drive.  Since she can’t use her feet, she has to do everything with her hands.  With her right hand, she uses a spinner knob that allows her to completely control the steering wheel and make the sharpest turns with only one hand.  It clamps onto the steering wheel.  Mummy’s is egg shaped.  That’s more comfortable for her little hand than a round shape.  It has blue tooth toggle switches that she can use for her directional signals, bright lights, and windshield washing.  She uses her left hand for a lever that ties into the brake and gas pedals.  She accelerates or brakes using that lever: down for gas, forward to brake. 

Mummy has been using hand controls for many years.  She has never had a problem with them—until we were driving across Manitoba, toward Winnipeg, on August 10.  Suddenly, the spinner knob fell off the steering wheel into Mummy’s lap.  This was a terrible feeling.  We were still more than 2,000 miles from home.  How could we make it that far without our spinner knob?

If this was going to happen, it couldn’t have picked a better location.  Manitoba is very flat and the roads are quite straight.  (We are so lucky that this did not happen in the Rocky Mountains.). Mummy managed to tamp the spinner knob back onto the wheel so that she could use it, although it kept falling off. 

When we got to Winnipeg, Mummy took the spinner knob, put it on the steering wheel, and lined up the set screws.  (They were still in the spinner knob.). She didn’t think that she had any tool small enough to tighten the tiny screws.  Then she remembered that she had a small file on a little Leatherman tool on her key fob.  So she was able to use that.

In Winnipeg we saw one of Mummy’s former students, Terry Lewycky.  He came to see us to catch up and brought some tools.  We were also able to borrow an Allen wrench from the hotel maintenance man.  So we got the spinner knob back on good and tight.

We didn’t want all this excitement to prevent us from going to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.  We had been looking forward to that for so long.  So we went on Friday, August 12. 

This was the first Museum for Human Rights in the world.  It is an amazing place and so accessible.  The parking was fantastic.  The bathrooms were the embodiment of accessibility.  We saw many exhibits and films.  The lower levels of the museum focus on Canadian Human Rights.  There was much information about Indigenous/First Nations people and Metis.  Higher floors looked at Human Rights, globally.  You could spend weeks there and not see and absorb everything. 

The docents had urged us to be sure to go to the top of the Israel Asper Tower of Hope.  People can climb the steps, which symbolize the challenges of achieving Human Rights.  Fortunately for us, there is also an elevator.  It’s very moving and humbling to be at the top.  On a clear day—and we were there on a very clear day—you can see all over Winnipeg and beyond. 

We are including a photo of us with Mummy at the top of the Israel Asper Tower of Hope.  Our dream is that you draw some hope for Human Rights from it.  As Mummy always says: We All Can Make a Difference.  We All Can Be That Difference.  Let Us Start Today. 

Until next time, folks.  Take care. Be well.  Hugs and wags.

Dusty and Saint

Good Thing We Can’t Eat Bones

Saint and Dusty Relax in Front of a Dinosaur Skeleton, Museum of Natural Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon--8.8.2022

Hello Everyone!  Saint and Dusty here. 

One of our stops on our Journey back home from Alaska was Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  We stayed at a hotel right on the edge of the campus of the University of Saskatchewan.  That made getting to attractions on campus pretty easy. 

We went to two attractions on two different days.  We visited the Diefenbaker Canada Centre.  Diefenbaker was a prime minister of Canada, the first from a prairie province, and the first to have a library with his artifacts.  This would be equivalent to a U.S. presidential library. 

Also at the Diefenbaker Canada Centre was an exhibit on women in science.  That would send a powerful message to everyone, especially children. There are many discovery camps at the centre throughout the summer.

The other place that we visited on campus was the Museum of Natural Sciences.  They have a lot of geological specimens.  Those made us think of some of Mummy’s colleagues at UMPI. 

What we really liked best, though, were the dinosaur skeletons.  Some of them were so big.  Putting them back together must have been like solving a big jigsaw puzzle.  The bones were a little tempting to us.  But they were safe: Mummy doesn’t let us have bones.  And we always try to do what Mummy says.  She knows best. 

We’re including a photo of us lying before a dinosaur skeleton.  We know that he looks pretty scary.  But don’t worry—we were very safe.

Until the next time, Take care.  Be well.  Hugs and wags.

Saint and Dusty

Saturday, in the Park

Saint and Dusty Relax by a Display of Wild Animals Found in Alberta at the Grande Prairie Museum, Muskoseepi Park, Grande Prairie, Alberta--8.6.2022

Hello Everyone!  Saint and Dusty here.  We wanted to tell you about the lovely time that we had at the Grande Prairie Museum in Grande Prairie, Alberta.  It’s located in Muskoseepi Park.  We went there on August 6, 2022, a lovely Saturday.  It seemed as though all of Grande Prairie was there that day.  The people really love to get out and use the city’s facilities!

Right beside the museum is a heritage village made up of historic structures from the region.  It has houses, cabins, churches, a post office, a livery stable, blacksmith shop, trading post, school, and much more. 

Here’s a photo of us lying beside a display of some of the wildlife you find in Alberta.  We prefer being outdoors and around live animals.  But this was the next best thing. 

We also have a funny story to share.  Our Journey consisted of many long days of driving.  We are good company for moral support, but we’re not very lively on a trip: mostly we curl up in the back and sleep.  Driving with no one to talk with, Mummy needs something to listen to in order to stay alert.  Mostly she was able to listen to satellite radio.  But that did not work in Alaska and a large part of the Yukon Territory.  Mummy has lots of classical music on her phone.  The only lively, rock ‘n’ roll music on her phone, though, was The Eagles Greatest Hits.  On the trip from Alaska into the Yukon, she probably played that album at least two dozen times.  She now knows every word and breath for all the songs. 

Mummy still likes the Eagles.  But she was glad to get satellite radio back and have some variety.  When we were at Muskoseepi Park, though, someone was having a picnic—any playing The Eagles Greatest Hits!  We all had to laugh.  Mummy said that the Eagles must be following us.  :>)

Until the next time, take care.  Be well.  Wags and hugs.

Saint and Dusty

Maine Veterinary Medical Center: A Very Caring Place

Amy Hodshon, DVM, Dusty's Neurologist, Cuddles and Plays With Us on the Floor at MVMC, 8.31.2022

Hello Everyone!  Saint and Dusty here.  BEYOND LIMITS believes that although we all have limits in our lives, there are often ways to transcend them.  Sometimes we impose the limits on ourselves when we don’t see the opportunities that they can yield.  We had one such great opportunity on August 31, 2022, when we went to the Maine Veterinary Medical Center.

Saint will be 14 at the end of the year, which would be like 98 in people years.  So she can’t hear or see so well anymore.  Although Dusty is still a baby at 5, she has developed a seizure disorder.  Our local vet is wonderful.  He is not a specialist, though.  So Mummy decided to take us to MVMC where they have specialists who could work with us and perhaps give us some help.

MVMC is a wonderful place.  It’s in Scarborough on a beautiful spot.  The people who work there are lovely and kind.  It’s sort of far from where we live, so Mummy took us most of the way there the day before so that we would be in plenty of time for our appointments.  We’re pretty expert at staying in hotels by now.  :>).

There are no magic cures for either of us.  There are some things that Mummy can do for us that may help us be more comfortable, though.  The folks at MVMC will keep track of our progress.

We don’t want to be immodest, but all the doctors and staff at MVMC thought that we were the best girls.  Several of them wanted to keep us.  That was really flattering.  But we wouldn’t consider it. Who would take care of Mummy if we weren’t with her? 

We are including a photo of Dusty’s Neurologist, Amy Hodson, DVM.  She is on the floor with us, cuddling and playing. 

Our next blog should have more trip memories.  We’re Mummy’s babies, so we don’t let anything stop us.

Take care.  Be well.  Hugs and wags.

Dusty and Saint

Our Personal Guided Tour of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Lynx at Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Hello, Everyone.  Saint and Dusty here!  We want to tell you about the amazing time that we had when we went to Yukon Wildlife Preserve on July 31, 2022.  To be sure that we would get a tour on the wheelchair accessible bus, Mummy had to make our reservation ahead of time. She chose the last tour slot of the day.  We were to arrive in Whitehorse the night before and she thought that we might be pretty tired.  (She was right, too.)

So Sunday afternoon, we headed off for the Wildlife Preserve.  It’s about a half hour north of town.  We got there in plenty of time and wandered around a little.  We didn’t go very far because they were concerned that we might scare the animals. 

When it came time for the tour, we were only ones for that time slot.  So we got an incredibly personalized experience.  Mummy had corresponded and talked by phone with Rebecca, our driver, before.  We were not allowed off the bus and Mummy would not leave us.  But no worries: Rebecca got off many times and took lots of amazing photos for us. 

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is a fantastic combination of environments: hills, wetlands, forest, plains.  There are many different types of animals, including mule deer, caribou, moose, mountain sheep, musk oxen, red foxes, Arctic foxes, lynx.  We’re including a photo of a lynx here.  Rebecca knew that he was there and by getting off the bus and knowing where to look, she was able to get some great photos.  You can see that he is really well camouflaged. 

Our tour lasted a couple of hours.  We were sorry to see it end. 

If you are planning a car trip in Canada and can include a trip to the Yukon, please be sure to go to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.  It is a treasure and worth every effort to get there.  It’s open year round.  We’re pretty glad that we went in the summer when there is so much daylight.  In the winter, we would probably have to wear our coats and boots. 

Take care. Be well. 

Saint and Dusty

The Great Alaska Windstorm

The Trail that Mummy blazed through the pastures to get to the Taste of Alaska Lodge--7.25.2022

Hello, everyone!  Saint and Dusty here. 

We know that some of you have been a little worried that we have not had more blogs about our Anything Is Possible Journey.  During our Journey, we have been in some pretty remote areas.  So we often didn’t have the bandwidth to upload blogs.  We’ll try to catch up a little now.

Previously, we mentioned that when we went to Denali on July 25, the winds were so strong that it was hard to keep Miracle on the road.  Mummy was strong, though. 

By the time that we headed back to A Taste of Alaska Lodge, where we were staying in Fairbanks, it was much less windy.  As we were coming back up to Fairbanks, we noticed many downed trees and powerlines with crews out working on them.  We thought that we would have this story to tell at the lodge. 

When we were within 10 miles of the lodge, Mummy got a call from Lily Eberhardt, the wife of lodge owner Kory Eberhardt.  She said that Kory had asked her to call Mummy to tell her that we couldn’t get to the lodge our usual way: trees had come down and had taken down powerlines, which were live and on the ground.  We were supposed to take a different road, go to the end, and he would meet us there. 

We did that and Kory was right there on his ATV.  He looked at Miracle and said that we should be OK.  Then he led us across some big pastures, marking the trail as we went with orange cones.  We finally came to a road and arrived at the lodge the back way.  We were really proud of Mummy for blazing the trail.

None of the buildings in the Taste of Alaska complex—not the main lodge or any of the other cottages—had power.  So the Eberhardts hauled out a generator that they had had for 22 years and never had to use before.  It worked!

We were very lucky to be in the main lodge.  That was where the generator provided power.  We depended on it for more than two days.  Although the power crews were working night and day, there were so many trees and lines down on so many little roads that it took days to get everyone back up and running. 

We were awfully glad to get the power back.  Still, Mummy really did an awesome job driving through the pastures.

Until the next time, Take care. Be well.  Wags and hugs.

Saint and Dusty


At Denali, a mother moose and her calf, chased by another femaie.

Hello, everyone.  Saint and Dusty here!  We know that you’ve been waiting eagerly for our next blog.  It’s been challenging because we have been on the go so much.  Also, we have been in some remote places and have not had the bandwidth to upload blogs. 

We want to share a very special time with you. On July 25, 2022, we went to Denali National Park and Preserve.  Denali is the highest peak in North America.  The park and preserve is nearly 10,000 square miles.  We drove down to it from Fairbanks.  There was no place closer where Mummy and Karma, her wheelchair, could stay. 

We had booked an accessible bus tour for the afternoon to learn about Denali’s natural history.  Aunt Kimmie was with us, so that made it extra special.  On the way down it was really windy.  Mummy had a hard time holding Miracle, our van, on the road.  We made it down safely, though. 

When it came time for us to board the bus for the last tour of the day, they had lost Mummy’s special information and did not have a wheelchair accessible bus there.  After some frantic calling, though, they got one with a very nice driver, Sarah.  We then got extra special treatment.

Sarah told us that because of the harshness of the climate and the shortness of the growing season, there is not a lot of wildlife in the preserve.  Just as she said that, one of the bus passengers called out that he saw some moose running.  We have a picture of them, if you look closely.  It appeared to be a female chasing another female and her calf.  Perhaps the mother and baby had intruded into the other moose’s territory.   

We could not see Denali itself from the park.  Because of some road erosion and such, you can’t drive closer than about 70 miles to the mountain and it was a rainy, cloudy day.  Don’t worry, though.  On several clear, sunny days, we were able to see Denali from where we were staying in Fairbanks: The Taste of Alaska Lodge. 

We hope to send you another update, soon.  In the meantime, take care.  Be well.  Hugs and wags.

Dusty and Saint