A Girl I Know

by Jane Miller

26 February, 2023

A girl I know from high school reached out to me one recent evening. She understands, she said, why some people take a vacation from social media. She wanted me to know though, that while I may not be visible much, I was not invisible and I was not forgotten.

When you think about it, simply reaching out and saying “Hi” takes very little energy and time, but like a pebble tossed into a pond, the ripple effects can be pretty powerful.

She asked specifically about the assistance dog I have been waiting almost a year for.  The beginning work was dominated by coming up with $15,000, the cost of one of the Joys of Living Assistance Dogs (JLAD). A friend and I created a Go-Fund-Me page because yes, it is wickedly expensive to breed, raise, train, socialize, and place one of their dogs with the right human. The list goes on, though, with experienced trainers literally teaching the dogs not just to think but when and what to think.

I know that JLAD is determined to get me a dog as soon as possible, they are working very hard; however, no one is more determined than I am to make my dream of a dog come true.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is progressive, moving quickly or slowly, it is always moving.  I have now seen people in an advanced stage, and I want to – I need to – do what I must to delay that stage as long as I can.

My DBS surgery has been less than successful, and while there have been many good days, the bad days are definitely creeping in.

My chief concerns are balance and gait. I fall, I freeze, and I do the Parkinson’s shuffle. I do not want a life dominated by avoiding the potentially dangerous. I want a life dominated by moving toward the potentially fun and beautiful. Filled with love and laughter. Bookended by breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. I dream of getting a travel trailer

I dream of getting a travel trailer and driving up to the Olympic Peninsula, of ferry rides across familiar waters, of seeing my San Juan Islands one last time.

Of heading south to meet friends in San Francisco, San Diego, and maybe heading to Palm Springs. I dream of the west side of the Florida peninsula (or the east side of the Gulf of Mexico). Of driving on Hwy 1 up to the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire.

To see the beauty and adventure that is waiting all around me.

I can’t do this by myself though. I need a dog … and a bunch of friends.

A bunch of friends who will want to go adventuring with me and a really smart dog.

This is my first blog in a long time. I have been working hard renovating my home in Tigard. It’s close to being finished. As I have been writing this blog, it’s dawned on me that I have been making a home base that reflects me – with my colors, my pictures, my touch.

I am sitting at the kitchen table I painted, with the lamp I designed, wondering how to end this. I realize I don’t have to, so I’ll be back soon.

Thank you, Cally, for remembering.


  1. Tyler Cole says:

    Thanks for sharing your post and updating us. I hope you get a dog soon. In the Fall I’m going to retire and we’ll get you down to the desert finally, just don’t get covid this time. Until then, Mike and I have a busy schedule with relatives to visit, postponed travel we finally get to do and a very limited pool of vacation hours I add up weekly and cross my fingers I have enough when the time comes.
    Thanks for sharing.


    1. Alan Sheinker says:

      Thanks for the update. Wishing you well.


  2. Jane Miller says:

    Thanks, Tyler! I am looking forward to your retirement, too! And seeing San Fran, and Palm Springs or wherever your condo is! and You can come up to Portland and stay. here (though there are probably a ton of people who would like you to stay with. them!) and you could use out tennis courts, golf course, and smallb pool!


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