Dottie and Bob brought their 8-week old Lhasa Apso puppy home in November of 2012. The couple named him Romeo King Solomon — a name with special meaning, they would soon discover.
Bob began showing signs of Parkinson’s disease (PD)around the time Romeo became part of the family. It wasn’t until August of 2013 that he received his PD diagnosis. Since Bob’s father had lived with Parkinson’s for some time, Dottie and Bob were familiar with the disease and knew they had to get educated and take action.
So, Romeo became Bob’s exercise partner. The two would walk every day until eventually, Bob became dependent on a walker to keep moving. But by then, Romeo and Bob had a bond that went beyond owner and pet.
Romeo was trained to become Bob’s service dog. Whenever Bob fell, Romeo would bark and run to get Dottie for help. Even when Bob’s Parkinson’s progressed to the point of having to stay in the hospital for days at a time, Romeo would always accompany him. Romeo would tug Dottie all the way from the hospital entrance to Bob’s room where the pair would snuggle up in the hospital bed as if they were home.
Dottie, Romeo and Bob were active in the PD community from the beginning of their PD journey. They utilized many Parkinson’s Foundation educational resources, participated in PD programs at their local YMCA and when possible, hit the gym twice a week along with physical therapy three times a week.
The couple knew that exercise, awareness and support were key to fighting this disease. Once they realized these three things aligned with mission and goals of the Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day® walks they signed up and prepared for Moving Day® Boca Raton… with Romeo, of course.
They attended Moving Day Boca for three straight years, gathering information and meeting therapists, medical professionals and other families in their PD community. Dottie loved meeting people who could shed some more light on the medical aspects of managing Bob’s symptoms. For Bob, he liked the boxing. It brought him joy to watch everyone throw their punches from his wheelchair. Romeo never stopped being the perfect walking buddy, and accompanied them each year.
Bob passed away from Parkinson’s complications last year, but his memory and the joy of his life is still present in Dottie and Romeo’s life as well as in the PD community in Boca. The two continue to support their local Moving Day and just participated in Moving Day Boca Raton in November. They walked in Bob’s honor, sharing the same love and passion that Bob always did alongside others with PD.
Dottie says that Romeo has become even more of a source of light in her life, now that her husband is gone. After Bob passed, Dottie sorted through Bob’s favorite t-shirts to craft a quilt from them for Romeo. Romeo would roll in them, knowing they were Bob’s and he now sleeps every night snuggled up in the quilt, close to Dottie and close to Bob’s memory.
Romeo King Solomon and Bob had an incredible bond. Romeo’s full name, Solomon, means peace, which is exactly what Romeo brought Bob long before he passed. He continues to bring peace to Dottie and countless other people at Moving Day each year.
To find a Moving Day in your area, visit MovingDayWalk.org.