Life according to Mr. T, the service dog


Adria Nassim (and Mr. T)

Hello Bloomington! My name is Thomas, but please call me MT. I’m relatively new to Bloomington. I just moved here in September so I’m still getting used to the area a bit, but I feel a little more at home every day.

Here’s a little about me: I’m a 2.5 year old yellow Labrador. I moved here from Zionsville, where I was trained as a service dog for Adria. I was trained through a service dog program called The Indiana Canine Helper Network. I think the ICAN staff did a great job of getting us involved because Adria likes to go out and see the world, which is fine with me. Every day is so exciting!

You may remember my “cousin”, canine columnist Lucy, who occasionally offered her thoughts on various issues to our readers. Lucy is now comfortably retired, so the leash and the vest with the laptop was passed to me.

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If you’re wondering why I was hired, part of my training is the same as Lucy’s. Just like she did, I help Adria keep her balance on stairs and uneven surfaces and I help her cross streets safely as well as improve social interaction with her peers. However, I also help him by picking up and retrieving things like my leash or laundry.

I know it’s hard for some people, but public hugs and visits are intermittent, as our outings are mostly for work or training. Adria and I are also still working to continue to form a strong, positive bond and formulate consistent expectations and boundaries. It’s also why hugs don’t happen every time I go out or even every day.

Adria and I have been together for six months. When I first moved to Bloomington, we spent a lot of time bonding, playing, reading stories, watching the news, and reviewing clues at home. After a while, she slowly started showing me the neighborhood: getting used to all the noise and the different sidewalks and the local critters, birds, rabbits and whatever else we might encounter on a walk. The last six months have been quite important because I got used to what life with Adria will be like. She introduced me to places she likes to go to in Bloomington.

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I even went to make a few speeches with her. Usually, I stay lying on my mat and I don’t say much. (She is responsible for speaking) although in a few engagements I have been asked to demonstrate certain skills. It was awesome! We attended various classes on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington and even spoke to a group of sophomores about service dogs and attended Bloomington Police Department staff training on interacting with people with autism. In other news, I’ve learned to take the bus and it doesn’t bother me. It’s been a good nap. Sometimes I like to look out the window.

We tend to have busy schedules, so I’m sure you’ll see us again at some point. When I’m not earning my kibble for work and a job well done, my favorite hobbies are walks, sniff breaks and chewing on my Nylabone. I look forward to many wonderful adventures with Adria in the years to come as I help her live her best life in the great city of Bloomington.

Love, MT


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