Cura and I have been together since 2009. We want to thank all of you who followed the early days as well as those who popped back on occasion during the long hiatus. Training was done, the days passed, and we were settling into our life together.
Fast forward: Cura is slowing down and a new member of the family is in training. On top of that, we are all busy with our new calling . . . Running the Training Department for Paws and Stripes. Join us on our journey!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another Expression of Disbelief (aka: eejits) . . .

Well, it is time to share another 'desbeliever' experience.  This person was more of a disbeliever who challenged Cura's ability to perform her job. Now, let me begin by saying that there are a number of people who, for lack of exposure, do not understand how a dog can help a person with a mobility/balance problem. This lack of understanding is not what landed this particular individual on my rant list. It was this person's refusal to give any consideration to the validity of my points after I explained how Cura was able to help me. This person challenged me about my status as a disabled person (because I "didn't seem to have a disablity" or "appeared to be fine"). I will not even get into the fact that one of the reasons I appear to get around so well is BECAUSE I have a Service Dog -- HELLO. Instead, I will point out the obvious fact that not all people that are legally disabled have a disability that is visible to the casual observer. Just as you can't tell that a person is subject to seizures or panic attacks by looking at them, you can't necessarily tell that I have difficulty with my balance and movement. Just because the casual observer is unable to tell that a person is disabled does not mean that they don't have one!

Even after I pointed out that not all disablities were visible to the naked eye, this person continued to be confrontational, but in a passive aggressive way. Okay, let me be honest here -- this is my personal interpretation of this person's body language and facial expression. So, to be fair, I must acknowledge the possibility that I have misinterpreted things -- it is certainly possible that I was feeling more sensitive than normal and read more into things than was intended. On the other hand, I think it is fair to recognize that this person's reaction to my explanation was less accepting/more resisting and critical than many that I have received in the past, and could very easily be placed in the 'antagonistic' category. I interpreted this person's expression to be one that showed disbelief, and I determined that there was no inclination by this person to consider the validity of my experiences over the past year. (After all, let's look at the facts, prior to Cura coming home, I fell at least once a month -- sometimes twice -- causing continual irritation/damage to my chronic back condition. Since Cura came home I have not fallen ONCE -- when did Cura come home? March 26, 2009 -- you do the math! Even if Cura did NOTHING else, she would be performing a very positive and beneficial service to me by preventing constant and recurring aggravation of a chronic condition. Amazingly enough, she does more than just this simple task -- as many of you who have been following our journey know.

So, forgive me for getting a bit bristly when confronted with various eejits that rear their obnoxious, ill-informed, intolerant, and confrontational ways.  Sometimes I wonder why they bother to ask the questions if they are not willing to accept the answers!  Ah, well -- at least eejits have become the exception to the rule.  Most people who approach me are quite nice!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cura is a STAR!

Yeah, yeah . . . I know, you have heard it before.  Still, this last week Cura showed, once again, how far she has come since that morning in March of 2009 when she came home.  I had to spend the day taking some standardized tests.  As is the case with tests like this, the are held only a few times a year and in locations that can handle the volume of test takers.  Unfortunately, these locations rarely have comfortable furniture for those with healthy bodies, let alone those with physical disabilities.  So, there we were surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of other test takers -- all nervous and figety -- waiting to be let into our assigned rooms to sit at our assigned desks.  Cura laid down under the table and calmly waited at my feet.

Each test was four hours long -- one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  For each test session, as we settled in our designated area, I put down Cura's neoprene pad under the table at my feet.  She immediately laid down on her 'place' and, apart from the occassional shift of position, stayed put without making a sound.  Fortunately for both of us (the chairs provided were horrible), I did not require the full four hours to take the tests, but they did take around three hours each.  We were both very relieved when the day was over and we could head home.  It was a long day -- but also a complete success!