Effectively Coping with Disabilities and Raising Awareness

Rudy Sims

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Related Topics: Disability Nexus

Disability Nexus: Article

Coming & Going..... From PADS Service Dog Breeze's Perspective

an article written by Tammy van der Kamp

Tammy’s lucky; she does some of her work from home, with me sitting comfortably under her desk, but even so I’m at the office with her several times a month for meetings, and stuff. “Off to work” means going on the train, and that means having other people want to pet me. It can also mean a substantial wait, so it would be nice to have a treat or smoky bone along to gnaw on.
Sometimes we take a bus, and Tammy has to think ahead to the bus stop: will there be a shelter, or will we be at the mercy of Vancouver’s mercurial elements? Tammy’s not very waterproof, but I love the rain! People should just learn to appreciate the smell of wet golden retriever…

Sometimes we go to the gym; and I can see people trying not to stare (at me or Tammy, I don’t really know which – maybe both of us!) but since we’re surrounded by mirrors, their efforts are both pitiful and funny. Sometimes I flirt with them in the mirrors, to see whether I can make them break their funny stretching poses, but usually I just ignore them and go about my own business. And sometimes Tammy gets to show up an ‘upright’, (her term for those of you who are able-bodied.) I think she likes to throw a monkey wrench into those preconceived notions of what a person with a disability can accomplish. It’s fun to see and I know she doesn’t gloat.

Tammy’s had 39 years to develop the sense of humour that helps her deal with the attitudinal and systemic barriers that still prevail. That sense of humour lets her get away with calling me the ‘fluffy blonde’ – even though I’m one of the tools that help her with those barriers! (Well, I am blonde, and after my bath, I’m fluffy, too. So I guess that’s ok.

More Stories By Rudy Sims

I am currently 31 years old I have a disability called cerebral palsy and I am in a wheelchair I was born with cerebral palsy and I have had three operations to try and manage it. My last operation went badly and I experienced very severe postoperative chronic pain for 10 years. I am doing great now and I want to help others with disabilities and chronic illnesses cope effectively with their conditions.