In general people understand the concept of a service dog. If you’re only ever heard of service dogs, you probably imagine a dog, most likely a Golden Retriever or German Shepherd Dog, wearing a vest and guide handle, guiding a blind man through busy intersections in New York City. While this image is most likely applicable to some service dog handlers, it certainly is not a depiction of all handlers.
Service dogs and their handlers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and disabilities. This is why ILRDB is proud to presentTen Things People Believe About Service Dogs (That Simply Are Not True).
First of all THANK YOU for taking the time to visit this page. My current Service Dog is well into retirement age and can no longer perform certain tasks that I need her to do. It is time that she is allowed to just be a dog.
I have Severe Complex PTSD and Bipolar Disorder. Since Sadie came into my life as my Service Dog I have had so many doors opened to me that never would have been opened. Places that terrorized me before (large crowds, malls, etc) became accessible to me. The first time I started to have a flashback she started pounding on my chest until I fully connected with her, thus grounding me in the present and thereby diffusing the situation - she does similar things when an anxiety attack is incoming. She’s knows that I am going to have an anxiety attack before I do! She will paw at me and let me know I need to remove myself from a situation when I am getting anxious.
These are only 3 of the many things she did for me (waking me up from night terrors or nightmares, forcing me out of bed to walk and feed her when I am gripped by depression, telling me when to take my meds , alerting me when I was driving anxiously/recklessly b/c I was anxious or manic). Other tasks, or explanations of tasks can be found here.
Now this amount is no where near how much it will cost me to adopt, fix, train, and buy equipment (vest and patches) for my new Service Dog, but it will help. Adoption fees are $175, the low cost spay & neuter clinic told me it would cost $115. Then there is training. $10 per session of one on one training. Now some of the specialized training I will do myself, though Sadie never needed to be trained to alert me to any of the PTSD/Bipolar things.
But Service Dogs need to be especially well trained at day to day life (Sadie does not chase squirrels in her vest and though she is prone to running off when she doesn’t have her vest on she never does with it on even though I have dropped the leash many times.) Also, though not required, the ADA prefers that all Service Dogs pass the Canine Good Citizenship test.
In any case I wish I could offer something in return, but my meager wages from my part time job and my disability cheques don’t give me much wiggle room. All I can offer is my eternal thanks and let you know that this helps me in ways that you cannot imagine.
I have found a wonderful dog, Cerise. She is 6 months old and she is WONDERFUL and reacts to training VERY WELL. Unfortunately she is $375, which isn’t bad considering most rescues charge $179 and the low income spay is $115. (Still more, but she is PERFECT.)
I am so close to having enough money to acquiring her (disability pay is crap and they don’t subsidize for service dogs which is stupid since medicaid pays for other disability aids). Now unfortunately it looks like I’m close, but wepay and gofundme both take a cut of my money and you also don’t have to donate to me - you can also donate to my wishlist for training or more importantly a gift certificate from workingservicedog.com which is where I got Sadie’s gear and since Cerise is smaller I will need to get new gear, esp since I need to also get a patch that says SDiT until she is fully trained.
Thanks for reading and if you donate, even $5, thank you from the bottom of my heart and thank you for my sanity. I have learned in the past few weeks how important a SD is to helping me live a normal life with my PTSD.
I hate asking for help, but I am in desperate need. I can’t live without a SD anymore. Thanks again.
First of all THANK YOU for taking the time to visit this page. My current Service Dog is well into retirement age and can no longer perform certain tasks that I need her to do. It is time that she is allowed to just be a dog. I have Severe Complex PTSD and Bipolar Disorder. Since Sadie came int…
OK - I feel really weird doing this, but here it is. I need your help. There are quite a few puppies I’m checking out at several rescues and I should have done this sooner (b/c holy upfront costs batman), but yeah. I need help getting a new SD.
Sadie just can’t do it anymore and I can’t blame her - I should have retired her at least 6 months to a year ago, but I didn’t want to let her go. In any case things are looking up and I need help b/c I can’t afford this on my own.
Wheelchair fund update!
So I raised a grand
and then gofundme shut me down
but then i sent them a stern email
and it’s back!
So I thought I’d make a fresh post about it to put out there on the internet. Here’s what’s going to happen with the money I get donated
- i will wrangle it from paypal somehow
- it will be spent on a good quality, good model electric wheelchair that suits my needs somewhere in the next few months (as i do not live somewhere accessible, I may put off buying it until I’ve moved)
- funds left over from the wheelchair purchase, if any, will go towards:
-Music Therapy - I did music therapy for years (piano, voice) and it helped my anxiety and mood/cognition problems. After not doing it for a few years, I’ve noticed a lot of backsliding. I will be getting an entry level cello (around $800) and putting some money away for lessons. I likely won’t buy anything outright, but will save a few hundred to put towards this.
-Art therapy - this will go one of two ways, depending. Either it will go to my learning photography, or towards a graphics tablet. Art therapy has been my go-to since childhood, and now I’m cut off from it, my stress levels are extreme and there are many emotions I don’t know how to express
- And the rest will go to charities, such Guide Dogs Australia. Charities will be rigorously assessed for their ethics and background to make sure money isn’t going where people who are assholes will get it. The majority of money I don’t need immediately will be donated to people in need and the charities that help them.
I DO NOT want to keep anything for myself if it can do good elsewhere -whether it be to charities, people in need or other personal crowdfunding for other trans* and disabled people.
If you could please signal boost this, since it’s added info and whatnot, that would be great.
And if you know any deserving causes or organisations, please don’t hesitate to message me here or (if it’s urgent or you have a question) on my roleplay blog. If you message me off anon, it will be kept private. when I have what I need, I will do my best to share what I’ve been given.
Hey, my name is Cat. I’m a twenty-year-old nonbinary person from the Wiradjuri nation, living in Melbourne, and I need help. I have had fibromyalgia for five years. I have had chronic fatigue since childhood. I am autistic. Because of all of these factors, I am unable to qualify for a governm…
Hey, my name is Cat. I’m a twenty-year-old nonbinary person from the Wiradjuri nation, living in Melbourne, and I need help.
I have had fibromyalgia for five years. I have had chronic fatigue since childhood. I am autistic. Because of all of these factors, I am unable to qualify for a government pension, despite trying for years. As such, I more or less depend on the generosity of others.
My condition is rapidly degenerating. I do not live in an accessable apartment, or an area that is easily navigatable for a person with mobility issues.
In short, I need enough money for a fairly expensive electric wheelchair. Such chairs can cost upwards of $5000. My parents have decided not to help me, and my partner and I can’t afford it alone. A wheelchair would open up so much for me - I will be able to go out for a whole day instead of two hours, I will be able to go grocery shopping alone, I will be able to spend time with friends.
We’re not saints. We’re not here to teach you lessons. We’re not here to inspire you to do better in your own life. We’re here to live our own lives, albeit in a different way owing to our disability.
If we tell you we can’t do something, THAT MEANS WE CAN’T. Most of us aren’t out to con able-bodied/NT folks into doing things for us. It takes a lot of courage to be able to admit you can’t do something; keep that in mind when you want to lambast us for not ‘doing our best’ or ‘trying’ or whatever.
We’re able to be happy sometimes. Our lives are not total doom and gloom all the time. And some of us have wonderful senses of humor that you should indulge in sometimes.
Our disability may sometimes seem like it totally owns our lives, but we’re capable of doing things that don’t involve our disability. They may be colored by our disability, or hampered by it, or somehow related to it, but these things are not totally about disability. Please do not act as if we are only our disability. We are so much more.
We are all different. We all need different things, we have different experiences and different goals and dreams and all that. We come from different places. Respect that. Even if two people have the same disability, they probably have a vastly different perspective and experience of it; please acknowledge this and don’t treat us as interchangeable.
The disability community can be frustrating, but more than anything, it is a family. We are all in this together, to get our rights and respect that we deserve. When you fuck with one member of the disability community, expect the rest of us to come after you. We watch out for each other [I’ve seen this especially with noneptic disabled folks looking out for epileptics] and we WILL protect each other.
I’ve noticed that ableism tends to be one of the lesser discussed isms on Tumblr, particularly in regard to physical/visible disabilities. While we usually associate the isms with hate and discrimination, ableism can be much harder to pinpoint because a lot of it is seen as attempts to help or empathize with disabled people.
A few tips:
- Noticing that someone is disabled or thinking that they might have a disability is not an open invitation to interrogate them.
- Similarly, it’s not okay to allow your children to endlessly ask us questions. We are not a convenient way to “teach them diversity” on the fly. We are not obligated to educate anyone. I don’t care if you think it’s cute or precocious, it’s rude and very awkward.
- Please avoid making any connection between disability and religion. It’s almost always offensive, no matter what your faith. Telling me that I can be healed through prayer also automatically assumes that I want or need my life to be changed.
- Do not appropriate someone else’s experiences as a way of showing solidarity with their community. Being injured for a few weeks is not the same as being disabled. If you really wanted to be my ally, you wouldn’t need to find a way to shoehorn yourself into my perspective to get yourself to care.
- I don’t really want to be your inspiration if your definition of inspiration is “thanks for making me feel better about my life because I think your life looks incredibly shitty by comparison.”
- On that note, don’t make presumptions about our quality of life. When people say things like “I couldn’t live like that,” you’re basically implying that you would rather be dead than disabled. That doesn’t feel very good.
- Physical disability does not always indicate cognitive delays. Even if the individual in question does happen to have cognitive disabilities, what gives you the authority to determine how much they’re able to process and understand? Talk to a disabled person the same way you would talk to any other person.
- If you’re that fascinated with how and whether or not we can have sex, why don’t you find out for yourself? (With consent, of course) ;)
We don’t talk about invisible disabilities either, though I kind of make mine visible by using a Service Dog. A giant HELL YEAH THIS to everything stated above. But a few other things. Let’s start with SDs:
- DO NOT TOUCH MY SERVICE DOG EVER (while some people might let you YOU NEED TO ASK FIRST. Don’t just walk up to a SD and pet it - IT IS WORKING and doing a VERY important job - some of those jobs save lives. You wouldn’t walk up to a firefighter while they’re trying to put out a house fire and hug them would you? I didn’t think so.)
Don’t get angry at me if I snap/yell at you for petting my dog without permission
Ask me if I really have a disability
Act like I’m faking that she’s a Service Dog so that I can take her places with me; trust me she’d be happier at home with a bone
Let your kid charge my dog. SERIOUSLY you shouldn’t let your kid run up to ANY dogs, but my dog is fucking WORKING and doesn’t need the stress. This applies to adults too.
Grill me about why I need a Service Dog. I do and the ADA strictly mandates what I’m required to tell you so if I keep repeating myself stop getting angry at me.
- As stated above I am not “your teaching moment.” I am not trying to be rude, but I get the same questions about 10-15x a day and if I stopped to answer every single person who asked the same damn question I would never be able to do anything, like go to all my various dr. appts, or go grocery shopping, or go to work. And stop acting like I should make an exception for you. There are plenty of ways you can find out this information yourself. Organizations, websites, freaking google. My personal tumblr is chock full of SD talk as are many I follow. The information is out there - don’t act like I’m committing some crime by refusing to tell you all about my life with a SD.
Ask me if my SD is in training/is somebody else’s dog. Seriously she’s 6 years old and is far past being a puppy which is when SD’s get trained. I didn’t steal her from someone she is my dog.
DO NOT PET MY DOG.
OK. Now onto invisible disabilities. Again, most of the same rules apply so we’re not even going to go over those again.
- You do not know more about my illness/disease/disability than I do. (Sometimes we are more aware than our Dr’s even - I hear you scoffing, but I have seen this in action). Repeat after me: I do not know more about your disability than you do.
- We don’t want your “cures.” 99% of the time we’ve tried them. Trust me, we’ve tried everything we can to try and make things better. Your constant stream of “have you tried acupuncture” and “what about X herb” make most people I know want to scream. Not only because we’re not hearing it just from you - we’re hearing it from at least 10 of you.
- As above, just because you were slightly sad or blue for a little while DOES NOT MEAN you understand what someone suffering from major or persistent depression or a depressive downswing of bipolar is going through.
- FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY JUST STOP USING MENTAL ILLNESS TERMS TO DESCRIBE THINGS. The weather is not “bipolar” someone acting oddly is not schizophrenic, just because someone is distracted easily doesn’t make them “so ADD.”
- Just because you’ve been in horrible pain once (be it from an accident, a burn, or I’ve even heard the stupidest thing ever which was from workout pain) you do not understand chronic pain or fibromyalgia. Just stop.
- Never, ever, EVER call us “overcomers.” Just because I have the ability to somewhat navigate the world and semi-work and have a semi-social life does not mean that I am not still crippled by my disability. I wish that I wouldn’t have to cancel on people all the time, and I wish that going on for a night on the town wouldn’t mean that I lose the entire next day to recovery.
There’s more, but those are the basics.
High Functioning/Low Functioning labels serve no purpose but to incorrectly categorize people based on assumptions and stereotypes of “functionality.” “High Functioning” to me is not a compliment. It means that people are making incorrect assumptions about my abilities, strengths and challenges based on stereotypes. “High Functioning” erases struggles and therefore conveniently dismisses inquiries for assistance.
Similarly, “Low Functioning” erases one’s strengths and highlights one’s struggles therefore dismissing a person’s contributions and gifts.
But one cannot critique the whole “High Functioning/Low Functioning” mess without critiquing constructions of “functionality.” What do we mean by “functioning?” anyway? Haven’t all of our ideas of “functioning” been constructed by narrow definitions of “work” and “contribution” put in place by a multiply oppressive capitalist society?
So lets throw out the “functioning” assumptions and questions.
People aren’t machines whose bodies/minds/spirits exist to “function” in some pre-mandated way. In the end, It’s about how we want to connect on a human level.
This post is very helpful for folks (like me) who are constantly battling insurance companies and other medical bureaucracies to get basic, but expensive, life-sustaining long-term meds. Check it out.