Jesse Speed held a puppet of a yellow bunny close to his son Milo’s head. “Hey there, Milo. How you doing?” he asked in a high voice. “You let the dog up here?” The puppet gestured to the Pomeranian Chihuahua mix sitting on Milo’s lap in his wheelchair, and Milo, whose four limbs are largely immobile, turned his head toward his father with a smile.
Beyond puppets, Speed has bestowed special voices on each of their three dogs — an excited one for Julius, the Pomeranian Chihuahua; a southern drawl for their Maltese Chihuahua mix, Bella; and a rather block-headed-sounding voice for their Yorkie Chihuahua mix, Champion, who has an underbite. Speed has made audio recordings of his special renditions of Milo’s favorite stories, such as “Love You Forever,” by Robert Munsch. Before bed, they say goodbye to the rooms of their Bangor duplex, each one imbued with a different vocal attitude.
Erin Rhoda is editor of Maine Focus, a journalism and community engagement initiative by the Bangor Daily News.
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