Meet The Dog That Saved Our Son’s Life

30 Apr
Hearing Ear Service Dog

Derby the Wonder Dog!

It has been eight months since I last posted anything on this blog. As I explained at the time, our oldest son was seriously ill and could not be left alone, so I did what any parent would do—I gave up cycling, blogging and a lot of other things to make sure that either my wife or I could be with our son at all times.

Though he only looks like a student in junior high school, our son is now 36 years old. He was born with multiple birth defects as a result of German Measles (Rubella). Before he was born someone with German Measles got near my wife during her second trimester and our son was born with all of the normal problems that accompany congenital rubella syndrome (deafness, partial blindness, heart abnormalities, developmental delay and a host of other conditions). Last August his health took a serious turn for the worse and he gave up on living—he got down to 98 pounds and was refusing to eat. By the way, if you are one of those people who think that vaccines were concocted by pharmaceutical companies just to fleece people out of their money, let me say this kindly, you are a profound idiot.

My last post was on September 5, 2014—that was the day after we adopted a black Labrador Retriever named Derby. The dog was only nine months old when we adopted him, but this canine has truly saved our son’s life! Derby, like most Labrador Retrievers, was a “high energy” dog when we brought him home and I knew he was going to be a handful. We hired a dog trainer to get him under control, and after a few lessons we decided to pay to have him trained as a Service Dog (a “hearing ear dog” in our case). Last month Derby finished his training and now accompanies our son everywhere. This dog is the reason our son gets out of bed in the morning and is his closest friend.

Derby is such a wonderful companion and faithful friend that we now feel comfortable leaving our son in his care. As a result, the first week of April I was able to ride a bicycle for the first time in over six months! The first few rides were short and slow, but I have worked my way back up to medium-length rides (50 to 60 miles each) a few times a week. Hopefully, I will be able to go on longer rides real soon.

Going back to the bike shop after such a long absence seemed strange, but I felt at home within a few minutes. Hopefully I will be able to resume writing product reviews in June.

Take care and ride safely!


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91 responses to “Meet The Dog That Saved Our Son’s Life

  1. tischcaylor

    April 30, 2015 at 7:01 PM

    What a relief! So happy for you and your family.

  2. Big Jim

    April 30, 2015 at 7:05 PM

    Hooray for Derby and the whole family!

  3. runmyssierun

    April 30, 2015 at 7:39 PM

    WOW!!! The young man that built my bike hosts a triathlon (SPI Tri) and the proceeds of it go to the Guiding Eyes foundation because his mother is blind. She raised him by herself. She’s a pretty fantastic woman and her dogs not only helped her but him and all his sisters, too. Isn’t it amazing the power of a good dog and a great family? You are blessed!!

  4. Chatter Master

    April 30, 2015 at 7:41 PM

    God bless Derby! And God bless you and your wife and your son. I hope you are all finding joy and relief in your every day.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:21 PM

      Every day is a challenge, but every day seems to be getting better.

      • Chatter Master

        May 1, 2015 at 10:08 PM

        I can’t imagine the change for you all in this package of a blessing called Derby.

  5. thehomeschoolingdoctor

    April 30, 2015 at 8:09 PM

    If I had to pick one inspiring person, it’d be you (and the wife and family behind you–I know that’s more than one). I am happy to hear your son and Derby have been such a good fit. And that you get to get back on your bike in time for spring. Thanks for sharing this. ~~Terri F

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:22 PM

      That was so kind of you! And you are right—I never could make through life without my dear wife!

  6. elisariva

    April 30, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    I am completely filled with happiness! Seeing your blog in my in box brought a smile to my face. I have three dogs and understand the joy they bring. In your son’s case that is immeasurable! You made me chuckle about vaccines. I agree – if we cannot travel to certain countries with vaccinations we shouldn’t be able to live here either. Finally to know you are rising again is outstanding.

    Just like riding a bike is to true! Welcome back.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:24 PM

      Glad to be back riding! When I was growing up we had “farm dogs” but that is not the same as having them live in the house with you. And since Derby is a service dog he expects to go any place we do (and he usually does).

  7. sedge808

    April 30, 2015 at 8:52 PM

    cute dog

  8. smirkpretty

    April 30, 2015 at 10:26 PM

    So happy to read you again! What a long winter it must have been for all of you. Welcome back.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:30 PM

      Thank you. And yes, it just about killed me every time I saw someone else on a bike during the winter.

  9. Joy

    April 30, 2015 at 11:18 PM

    I’m with Chatter Master – what a true blessing to have Derby in your lives! It nice to hear your son’s health has improved. Sending good vibes and prayers to you and family!!

  10. joboo1967

    April 30, 2015 at 11:58 PM

    Happy for you and yours Sir!!!

  11. velobum

    May 1, 2015 at 12:55 AM

    Two paws up to good things happening for your family.

  12. fossilcyclist

    May 1, 2015 at 1:32 AM

    Our friend trains assistance dogs for Canine Partners and it’s a real wonder the difference they make to folk’s lives. It’s always a wrench for her when they go through. Good that this one has made life better for you.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:37 PM

      I have never seen our son happier—this dog has really changed his life.

  13. Elizabeth

    May 1, 2015 at 1:57 AM

    What a lovely post – I’m so glad you found Derby and I’m glad your son is doing a little better. Enjoy your long cycles – you deserve them!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:39 PM

      We saw a sign that said, “My rescue dog rescued me.” In our sons case this was very true!

  14. brendaintheboro

    May 1, 2015 at 2:11 AM

    so pleased to see you blogging again. we have a son with sensory integration dysfuction – a form of autism so I know a little of your difficulties. he looks about 20 but is actually 39.

  15. Chris Stanley

    May 1, 2015 at 2:48 AM

    Wishing all the best for you and you family.

  16. unsportywomencanrun

    May 1, 2015 at 3:53 AM

    Lovely to see you back. And even more lovely to hear that Derby has made such a difference to your family and that things have improved. I so agree with you about vaccines. All the best and happy cycling, so nice to see you – I’ve wondered about you and your family often xxx (I even thought of you the other day when we received a package from Hammer nutrition, so nice to see you back!)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:41 PM

      Thank you! And yes, I’ve been pouring down the Hammer Gel in the past few weeks (ordered a dozen bottles to hold me over for a little while).

  17. Frank Burns

    May 1, 2015 at 4:13 AM

    You are courageous parents, and I am full of admiration.

  18. bgddyjim

    May 1, 2015 at 4:21 AM

    God Bless you, brother. The Internet is a better place with you in it. Glad you’re able to get back out again. I cannot agree more with your assessment of the anti-immunization crowd.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:44 PM

      Sometimes it is very difficult for me to remain civil with the anti-immunization crowd.

      • bgddyjim

        May 1, 2015 at 7:05 PM

        One of my best friends on this planet… His wife is one – and she is one. I know.

  19. cyclerist

    May 1, 2015 at 4:23 AM

    Welcome back!Things are looking great with Derby.
    All the best to your family and you!

  20. Gwen Stephens

    May 1, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    Wow — what a story. I know this will stay with me all day. So glad to hear the happy ending! Never underestimate the power of an animal’s unconditional love, nor the importance of vaccination and herd immunity. I’m so glad you put that little plug here in your post. You have a living example of why it’s so profoundly necessary.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:45 PM

      Derby’s unconditional love for our son has made all the difference in the world to him.

  21. ruralbiker

    May 1, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    Reblogged this on Ruralbiker's Blog.

  22. simon682

    May 1, 2015 at 7:21 AM

    I raise a glass to the dog. I am really happy for you all. Good wishes.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:47 PM

      Thank you—our happiness is increasing each day as we watch Derby and our son bond.

  23. Jeff Katzer

    May 1, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  24. the drunken cyclist

    May 1, 2015 at 8:35 AM

    I was so excited to see that you had posted again, but incredibly pained to read what you have gone through. You and your family will be in my thoughts and I hope to “see” you out on the road a lot more…. Rubber side down my friend….

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:50 PM

      This morning I rode my first Century of the year (OK, it was a Metric Century—only 62 miles, but it felt great to be on the road).

  25. tomlet2237

    May 1, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    God bless you, your son, and all your family!

  26. Wayne

    May 1, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    Great to see you back in the saddle again — online and on bike. All the best!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:51 PM

      After what seemed like eight months of “house arrest” it is so good to be on the road again.

  27. Susana CarreraSuana

    May 1, 2015 at 10:10 AM

    Dogs are wonderful!!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:52 PM

      They are simply amazing! And a well-trained dog is always such a pleasure to be with.

  28. captain of the back seat

    May 1, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    So glad to hear things are on the up for you and your family. All the best, I look forward to your next post.

  29. Mountainstroh (Tony)

    May 1, 2015 at 12:19 PM

    Great to hear from you buddy! And love this story, give Derby a head scratch me. And for the record, idiot does not begin to describe those who believe that about immunizations.

    Ride like the wind!

  30. Jill

    May 1, 2015 at 2:32 PM

    Thanking God for Derby. Glad to have you back!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 1, 2015 at 6:55 PM

      While there are many things I’ve thanked God for in the past, I never thought I would be thanking Him for a dog! However, this canine has changed our sons life in such a way that words can’t really express it.

  31. Sue Slaght

    May 1, 2015 at 7:36 PM

    Oh this is wonderful news! I have often wondered how life had played out for you. Bravo for Derby and for all of you!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 2, 2015 at 9:53 PM

      Life has ups and downs—the past six months were mainly down, but things are starting to look a lot better again (mainly thanks to Derby).

  32. billi1905

    May 2, 2015 at 12:16 AM

    Dogs are so amazing.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 2, 2015 at 9:54 PM

      The more I am around this dog the more impressed I am —in addition to being a great service dog he is also part clown.

  33. stevewolfgang

    May 2, 2015 at 6:15 AM

    Reblogged this on ἐκλεκτικός.

  34. Jason Atkinson

    May 2, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    You and your family have been through a lot. I have missed your posts and would like to say welcome back.I’m about to hit the bike trail right now! Looking forward to more product reviews. Taking the time off was the right thing to do and returning to your work now will help with the healing. Best of life to you and yours!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 2, 2015 at 9:55 PM

      Thank yo so much. Life was pretty dark for a while, but between the dog and warmer weather things are begin to return to “normal” (whatever that is).

  35. fitandbusy

    May 2, 2015 at 11:33 AM

    Amazing news! Keeping you all and derby in my prayers for continued happiness!

  36. Stef

    May 2, 2015 at 5:23 PM

    Glad to see you’re back and well.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 2, 2015 at 9:56 PM

      Thank you so much — and it feels great to be back on a bicycle again!!!

  37. Lisa Shaw

    May 2, 2015 at 10:48 PM

    Happy for you, for your wife, for your son, and for his dog. Glad to see you back to blogging and biking, and I look forward to reading more stories about that dog. 🙂

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 4, 2015 at 5:18 PM

      Thank you so much! Though we have only had the dog for eight months he is definitely a part of the family—and he thinks he has to go everywhere with us (and usually does).

      • Lisa Shaw

        May 4, 2015 at 5:19 PM

        Well, that’s just as it should be. Dogs ARE family. 🙂

  38. kevinmayne

    May 3, 2015 at 8:42 AM

    I often think that short simple posts can pack in so much, especially where we can read between the lines. Your thoughts about your son, the amazing impact of pets, the release we all know about that can come from a simple bike ride….

    Good to have you back in the blogging community and good luck with the next steps.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 4, 2015 at 5:19 PM

      Glad to be back on the bike — not only for my physical health, but mental health as well. For such a long time it felt like I was under “house arrest” since I couldn’t go anywhere myself.

  39. Elaine @ foodbod

    May 3, 2015 at 2:02 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story with us – how wonderful to read about Derby, he definitely sounds like a wonder dog, what a true gift for your son 🙂
    Enjoy your bike again x

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 4, 2015 at 5:20 PM

      That dog is one of the most expensive things I’ve ever purchased (you wouldn’t believe what his training cost), but he was worth every penny!

      • Elaine @ foodbod

        May 5, 2015 at 12:35 AM

        I can only imagine! But the freedom and independence and companionship he brings your son must be amazing. It brings tears to my eyes x

  40. CbaileyGO

    May 3, 2015 at 4:20 PM

    Great to have you back! And most certainly thankful for Derby and the help he’s brought to your son. May God continue to bless you and your family!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 4, 2015 at 5:22 PM

      Thank you so much! Derby has helped our son more than any doctor could have ever done (and his own physician agrees).

  41. billgncs

    May 4, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    Great to have you back! And that’s great news. I’m a big believer that nobody loves you like a dog, and that dogs are fulfilled too by working.

    Maybe one day we can meet up for a ride. Next month I’m going to ride the Michelson trail in South Dakota.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 4, 2015 at 5:24 PM

      I’d love to meet up with you for a ride! However, at the moment I would slow you down a lot. Being off the bike for so long has decreased my average speed by about 3 MPH (on the other hand, I’ve not been able to ride on a day when the wind was gusting at under 20 MPH so far).

  42. jeffjacobsen

    May 4, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    What a blessing from God to hear of Derby’s influence on your son’s life and the lives of you and your wife. I often feel dogs are angels sent into our lives to do just as you said, save lives. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone. Your sacrifices for the good of your son are the greatest gift any man could give back. Great to have you back on your bike. Blessings to all.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 4, 2015 at 5:27 PM

      It is so good to be back on the bike! Derby is such a wonderful companion for our son—I wish we could have bought a dog like him a long time ago.

  43. yogini.sharon

    May 7, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    I’m thrilled with this great news! What a heartwarming story of hope.

  44. an uncommon girl

    May 7, 2015 at 1:30 PM

    As a parent that has decided to delay vaccines until age 2 or so, I appreciate the info/awareness about Rubella.
    So happy to learn of your new family member 🙂

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 8, 2015 at 5:20 PM

      German Measles is one of the most contagious viruses in the world — all it takes is one person with the disease to get near a pregnant woman and her child will be born with a lifetime a pain and misery.

  45. bribikes

    May 11, 2015 at 7:07 PM

    I am so glad to hear of your son’s wonderful furry friend!

    I just have to thank you for your wonderful website, I read a lot of it multiple times and found so much helpful advice to help me through my first winter. It is so cool that you are back now 🙂

  46. Run Colby Run

    June 19, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    I am catching up on my catching up. And am thrilled to read about your new addition- and that you’re back in the saddle. What a wonderful pup. 🙂


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