Brenda and Buffy: How Can I Help You?

Imagine dropping your phone while sitting on a barstool that your bum happens to be glued to. All together now: “Oh no! Not my phone!” Getting up is not an option. Now imagine that the stool has armrests.

Can’t reach the floor, can ya? Stinks, doesn’t it? It’s a situation that users of power wheelchairs find themselves in every day (except the barstool part).

Add to that equation a smart and capable dog who responds to the drop by looking up at you with big brown eyes that say, “Need help?”

The situation’s starting to smell better. Continue reading

Fake Service Dogs on NBC

As many of you know, Bright and I were interviewed by Vicky Nguyen from NBC for a story about the issue of people pretending that their pet dogs are Service Dogs. Reactions to the story have been overwhelmingly supportive, and I’m excited to see where things go from here. 

The issue raises one big question, though, and it seems that the SD community is divided on the solution. I’d like to hear what you think:

Should the US have a standardized system by which to train, certify, and identify Service Dogs? What would be the advantages? What would be the drawbacks? 

Click here to read the article, Fake.

Click here to watch the story on NBC.

Click here to see what makes Service Dogs special.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Crazy. Part Two.

Consider this the sequel to the last article I posted. Crazy. Part One. was about the nutso things that people say to me just for having a disability. Brace yourselves, folks, because this one brings in a whole new level of crazy. Dog People Crazy.

Like it or not, dog people are whacko. I’m a dog lady. I totally get it. We see those fluffy, furry, sweet bundles of doggy love and we forget our manners. But there’s manner-forgetting within reason, and then there’s totally-insane-what-planet-are-you-from behavior.

If you haven’t read Crazy. Part One. yet, go do that before you continue.

If you’ve already read it, read on and enjoy. Continue reading

Crazy. Part One.

Having been born with a visible disability, I learned at a young age that just the sight of me raises questions for lots of people. Society has a pretty specific idea of what a person in a wheelchair looks like, does (or doesn’t do), and how he or she thinks.

Something about seeing a person with a disability disarms some people to the point that they forget everything they’ve ever learned about manners, etiquette, and common courtesy. When you add a dog, all kinds of crazy happens. Let’s call this article Part One of that story, though, and focus on the kinds of things my friends and I hear just for being in wheelchairs. Part Two will be full of stories specifically about the kinds of questions, comments, and suggestions our furry friends elicit. Continue reading

“You’re so lucky.”

“…treat people with understanding when you can, and fake it when you can’t
until you do understand.”
Kim Harrison

Before you read this article, I want you to know that it isn’t meant to feel like a rant. Quite to the contrary, I’m opening up a personal subject to try to help you understand something that can be sensitive for a person with a disability.

I’ve used a wheelchair my whole life, and ironically, I’ve been told over and over again by able bodied people, “You’re so lucky.” Continue reading