Hello, everyone and welcome to my blog!  My name is Saint Lowman.  I’m a black Labrador retriever service dog.  I live with Mummy and my brother, Tuva, in beautiful northern Maine.  I love my life: I know that I’m loved and needed every moment of every day. 


I’ve been with Mummy for four years, now.  I’m her legs and arms.   Many people call Mummy Dr. Jacqui Lowman.  Her students mostly call her Dr. J.  Mummy teaches communication at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.  Mummy loves teaching: she says that it keeps her young. 


From the moment that Mummy and I met, it was an intense love affair.  Mummy says that we’re like one heart, soul, and mind in two bodies.  She also says that without me, she could not live independently.  Because Mummy cannot stand or walk and since she has trouble with her hands and arms, I get the fun of helping her a lot.  That’s what I was trained to do, so being able to help Mummy makes me really, really happy. 


Lots of times, people ask Mummy what I help her with.  Mummy usually answers pretty broadly and says, “Everything.”  Most people don’t really grasp what that means, though.  So she’ll go on and explain a bit more.  “Because of Saint, I don’t have to have a person come and help me take care of myself every day.  Saint opens and closes the doors, turns the lights on and off.  If I drop things—which I do often—Saint picks them up.  If I can’t reach something, Saint will jump and get it for me.  Saint helps me get dressed and undressed.  She tugs clothing off and pulls it on.  She makes sure that I sleep correctly (not on my back, which paralyzes me) and helps me get out of bed.  I couldn’t function without her.” 


Sometimes Mummy’s students ask her how long it takes her to get ready for work/school in the morning: they want to know when she gets up.  When Mummy says that to be to work for 7 a.m. we have to be up by 4:30 a.m., many of them say, “No way!  I could never do that!”  But Mummy always answers, “Yes, you could.  If that’s what made the difference between being independent or not, you wouldn’t hesitate.  You’d just make it part of your routine.  And you’d be really happy to do it.” 


People don’t always understand what a wonderful life a service dog has.  Sometimes Mummy’s students ask her if I ever get time off.  Mummy explains that helping her is my greatest joy: it makes me proud and needed.  Plus, when I do, it’s like a game.  And she gives me hugs, kisses, and treats.  What’s not to like?  It doesn’t get any better than to be loved and needed.  One time, one of Mummy’s students asked her if she thought that I minded that she has a disability.  Mummy replied, “Well actually, if I didn’t have a disability, Saint wouldn’t even know me.  Besides, I think that Saint doesn’t even see the disability.  Dogs can see a lot better than some people.” 


So you can see, I have a great life with Mummy.  And we do a LOT.  Mummy is very active.  She has a snazzy red power wheelchair.  It goes up to seven miles an hour and can go 26 miles on a charge.  We drive around in a van that Mummy operates with hand controls.  We love to travel.  We’ve been on planes, trains, buses, the subway—we’ve even been stuck on a streetcar. 


Mummy always reminds me of how lucky we are.  She says that because she had the great good fortune of getting an education, she has the privilege of working with others to tap their communication gifts.  But she says that many others have not been so fortunate, have not been able to find and tap their voices.  So its up to us to give back by helping others realize their truest selves.  That’s made our lives together a wonderful, eventful journey. 


That’s what I plan to share with you.  I hope that you’ll come along for the ride.  As the name of my blog indicates, we believe that Life Is a Gift.  We try to make the most of it.  It’s all about the journey.