Dog’s Life?


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Adele, a hero Lab, and her owner, Marty Harris, got first-class treatment at the 20th annual MSPCA-Angell’s Animal Hall of Fame dinner at the JFK Library. Adele is a specially trained heart-service dog who can sense when Marty, who has a serious heart condition, is going to faint. Adele can also retrieve Marty’s cell phone if he has to call 911, can pay for purchases with a credit card and even helps with the laundry! That’s a good dog!

By Inside Track
© Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Media.

This is a speech I gave about Adele (my service dog) when she won the 2006 MSPCA Hero Dog Of The Year Award. It was a beautiful evening that began with a limousine ride to the JFK Library. Jeff, Ethan, Adele and myself dressed up in our finest and smiled the whole way. We were greeted by an actual red carpet, paparazzi and the President of the MSPCA. What a great night that was…

Good evening,

All of my life I have been blessed with animals. I have learned over the years that all of these animals had a gift to give me.  Their gifts to me were companionship (even when I would forget they were there), sympathy (when I needed it most), curiosity (when they would sniff the world all around them), laughter (when we would play), frustration (whenever they’d break my stuff), patience (when I could hear them moaning for their next meal from a room away), adventure (when we would go for walks), fearlessness (when they growl at the unknown), even terror (when they would go hide in a bathtub during a thunderstorm). My animals gave me the greatest joy and at times the deepest sadness but above all they gave the gift of love.

Adele, well Adele gives me the gift of……Life.

Everyday she wakes me up with a smile and a kiss.

The joy on her face that says, “What adventures will we go on today?”

Before Adele came into my life.

I woke every morning not knowing if I could make it through the day without ending up in a Hospital. I would lie there in bed and just hope, not to be somewhere alone and pass out that day. Mostly, I would pray not to pass out in front of my son. I started everyday being scared, or hurt or confused at what that day would bring. I went to the best doctors and hospitals but there came a point where even they could not help me anymore.

Then Adele came into my life.

From the moment we met, Adele has known when I am going to faint.

Everyday she helps me to stay safe. I have had to learn her language, which has not always been easy. Each signal she gives me means something different. She tells me when to slow down, to stop, or take a seat. Other times, she has me lie down and gives me a look that says, “ don’t move, you’re in danger!” She even lets me know when it is safe to move on.

Sometimes it seems she just likes to be helpful. Whether I am doing laundry or need help carrying items she is always right there to help.  She even likes to bring me the phone.  Although Adele can take her job very seriously she does like her free time. Her favorite activities out of her harness are to roll around in the grass, run around in circles, chase balls, play with other dogs and kill the squeakers in all of her toys.

We have been together over a year now, and life just keeps getting better.

Now, I’m not scared anymore. Adele has given my family and me the gifts of freedom, comfort, beauty, security, adventure, bravery and love.

Everything you expect in a hero!

Thank you for honoring her tonight.