Effectively Coping with Disabilities and Raising Awareness

Rudy Sims

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Disability Nexus: Article

Doggie Vignettes

an article written by Tammy van der Kamp

So, fans, life's been busy - no time for blogging!

I do have a few quickies, though, funny little stories I think you'll enjoy - mostly from me, but one or two from Tammy...

Tammy takes me most everywhere, and I get to meet all sorts of people... People are just like dogs, you know - they come in all shapes and sizes, all colours and smells, and some even have funny hair!

Little Old Lady
Like the Little Old Lady I met a while ago, while out on a gotta-go-now break; she had PURPLE hair! I haven't seen too many dogs with purple hair, not even in the West End! She was a nice Little Old Lady - and she traveled by wheelchair, so I felt it was my bound duty to go over and say 'hi' - and after all, I was off work. When I sat beside her, she gave my ears a nice scratch - she knew how to do that all right, but she sure stunk like baby powder! That's how I knew she was a Little Old Lady. I made her smile, and she made me smile. I love to say 'hi' to people!

Little Boy
I get to meet a little boy on my evening walks - he's growing fast! He can walk too now, and so he comes right up to give me a pet. When we first met, he was scared of me - I'm pretty big, you know, so he'd hide behind mom's leg and peek out. Now he waves and blows kisses, and we're good friends.

"Poor Dog"
One day a guy got on the elevator with me and Tammy. First he gave Tammy a dirty look. Then he made a funny noise, like this: "tsk tsk tsk..." Then he gave Tammy an even dirtier look and said "Poor dog, I really feel sorry for you!"
Well, clearly he hasn't tasted my treats, or felt the special glow you get from helping somebody! I'm an important dog, and I know Tammy appreciates me and the ways I help her - otherwise I wouldn't get all those good things to eat! And good pets! And good walks! And I get to push elevator buttons and open doors, and I don't have to wait in an old basement all day for her to come home from work - I get to go along with her! Everywhere! So there!

"Bad Dog"
I can't believe the behavior I see sometimes! I went for a pee break downtown one day. We walked to a park where there's a nice hill - we can watch pontoon planes take off and land - they're noisy! It's a good spot to meet other downtown doggies, too - but they aren't service dogs, I can tell you! Some of them are brats - and they wear funny clothes, though I guess that isn't their fault. One spring day it was a bit muddy and slippery at the top of the hill. A couple of us were meeting and greeting - and peeing, of course - when all of a sudden this bitch takes off down the hill at full speed, with her person hanging on to the leash for dear life! She stayed on her feet 'til almost the bottom of the hill, just like a skier. You could see the ruts left by her heels all the way down! Her butt left an even bigger rut! (She splatted in a puddle!)
We made sure the lady was ok - she was, but she sure looked funny!

Gummy Toes
There's a big difference between Gummy Bears and Gummy Toes.
Gummy Bears are apparently good to eat - not that I'd know, Tammy never lets me have any candy. (But she gives me peanut butter treats sometimes: mmmmmmm....)
So, that's Gummy Bears.
You can't eat Gummy Toes, or you'd better not, 'cause if you try, I might have to bite you. You see, Gummy Toes are my toes, and I get 'em from stepping on melted spit-out bubble gum stuck all over the side walk! Yuck!
I had to have my furry feet trimmed to get the nasty stuff off, and I don't like getting my feet trimmed! It tickles - and the scissors scare me.
So please, folks - think of us poor doggies walking along your sidewalks - we don't want to get stuck, or hurt. Woof!

Doggie Brain - by Tammy
You've all heard the term 'baby brain'. Baby brain is an effect of hormonal changes due to pregnancy, and as any mother will tell you, it never goes away. Not even when your kids have grown up and moved out, and not even if your kid is actually a service dog. I call it 'doggie brain'.
An example of doggie brain: on the rare occasion that I leave PADS Service Dog Breeze home while I go out dogless, I overhear myself giving dog commands anyway.
"Let's go", I say to my invisible golden retreiver (or worse, to my attendant...) Or, seeing a tempting piece of KFC-smelling litter on the sidewalk, anticipating an opportunists doggie moment, sternly warning "Leave it!"
I've gotten a few odd looks - is that lady drunk-driving her wheelchair?! Or is she just crazy?
I don't drive drunk...

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.