Update and a Short Story

2016 Panama Canal Cruise-All Access Travel (7)

I haven’t posted in quite awhile. One reason is I haven’t really done any exciting travel of late. The other reason is I have experienced some problems with the renewal of my domain.. You’ll notice thst the domain has changed to wanderingwheelchair-allaccesstravel.com. it may change again in the not too distbtr future, but I’m not sure when so stay tuned to Facebook and twitter for that. Like I said I haven’t done much interesting travel of late, but I do have a few updates for you and then I’ll share something I wrote and submitted recently for publication..

First of all we’re all set for our November cruise and I’m really looking forward to it. We have a group going but there might be room for a couple of add-ons so if you’re interested please contact me at dbox@cruiseandtravelexperts.com.. Secondly, we are planning aPanama Canal cruise for September of 2016. This package includes the 16 day cruise, airfareto San Diego and from Ft. Lauderdale, and optional shore excursions from the ports of call..Lastly, I’ll sharte this story I wrote about my dog that recently passed. It may or may not ap[pear in an upcoming issue of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Duke, my Schnoodle

            “Mom, I want a puppy.” It was one of the first things I had spoken in months. I had suffered a massive bleed in my brain, due to a malformed blood vessel that ruptured when I was seventeen. When I first woke up from the coma, I could move only my eyes, but gradually over the next few weeks and months I was able to move my right side pretty well and my left side a little bit. My speech, however, was slow to return. Nobody was quite sure why. It was probably a combination of things, a perfect storm of environmental and neurological factors that combined to make my recovery arduous and frustrating.

My mom witnessed my struggles. Everyday. For five long months she and my father sat diligently by my side as I fought my way to some semblance of a recovery.

When I was finally discharged from the rehab hospital, one of the first things I wanted was a new puppy.

So my mom drove me to a breeder to chooser the puppy of my choice. She decided on the breed, a schnoodle, and I didn’t object. When we got to the home of a pleasant middle aged lady she brought several puppies out to the car one at a time so I could see which I bonded with.. the first couple looked more like classic Schnauzer’s , except for the slightly curly hair as opposed to a fur coat. But they were either black and white or all black.. They were a little stand off-ish, as Schnauzers tend to be, and I wasn’t really enamored with any of them.

Then she brought out an all white one. As soon as she sat it on my lap he immediately crawled up on my shoulder and began ferociously licking and nibbling at my ear. When he tired of that he moved to my stroke-affected left hand, clearly determined to “fix” it. This was my puppy. Without a doubt.


On the drive home I carried him in my lap, which seemed like a good idea. It wasn’t.he became violently car sick and vomited on me no less than half a dozen times. From that moment we were inseparable.

I named him Duke after my favorite college basketball team, and he was enrolled in obedience school. He was to become a therapy helper dog.

The trainer never had any success with Duke and was exasperated with himself and Duke . he couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t get any semblance of cooperation from my dog. Until one day, when my mom arrived to pick him up from his lesson and ipon seeing her he took a flying leap into her arms and assumed his favorite position. One paw planted on either side of her neck and his bottom resting on her folded arms. Suddenly it all made sense to the trainer, Duke was being spoiled rotten at home. Shortly thereafter hw had officially failed obedience school, and gone were all of our lofty aspirations for Duke as an agent of rehab and recovery.

Little did we realize thst Duke would become a much greater form of therapy for those lonely and somewhat isolated years of my life. Every time he entered a room I was in he jumped onto my shoulder in a mad scramble to get at my ear. He put in many hours of “therapy” on my left hand in a noble attempt to get it to function properly. But most of all he just made me forget all my struggles and remember the joy of living in the moment.

He wasn’t always the best behaved or exactly “housebroken”, but he was the sweetest dog I could have asked for. And up until his last day he remained loyal and never lost his affinity for licking my ear or trying to get my left hand to work.

Today I have recovered a great deal. I live alone and am self employed. I have a blog called Wandering Wheelchair on which I write about my adventures traveling the world and advocate for others with limited mobility to travel and see the world. Duke passed peacewdully in 2015. We still mis him, but are thankful for all the joy and good memories he brought to our lives.


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