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Interviews and Insights

  /  Interviews and Insights

There are some very important things people with visible or invisible disabilities want you to know. This is a list of "don'ts". These 21 items should get you off on the right foot, or at least help you know more about which one's the wrong foot. Manners are important. How we conduct ourselves reflects what kind of person we choose to be. Kindness is critical. We all live on this planet together! Please be polite. We want to be treated like anyone else. Please don't draw attention to what makes us different — and understand that we may have invisible disabilities. Maybe instead focus on what makes us all similar. Don't rule me out. Please don't overlook me as a friend or date because I have a medical assistance device or dog with me. I may want to go have coffee with you if you ask nicely, or possibly even dinner. Who knows? I'm a person too! Nope, no secret club. Having a disability doesn't mean that we're in a secret club. There are no secrets, we just might not wish to share information about our medical situation or needs. Please don't ask us questions that you wouldn't want to answer yourself. Having a disability is not the best thing ever. While it's admirable of you to try to cheer us up, there are no "Pep Talks" needed. It's just how we are, and we have to live with it daily. It's a challenge, and it's hard sometimes. It's not something wished upon anyone else. It just is. This is not a contest. Please don't try to compare two people's disabilities, or life experiences. Everyone's struggle is different. It's apples and oranges, even if both people have the same disabilities exactly. Instead, understand that everyone is different and no one really knows everything about anyone else. Please don't talk about us behind our back. We're people with feelings, and we heard or saw that. Remember Mom's words, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Sometimes just don't say anything anyway. I am not a medical doctor. Please don't ask me if I think you need a Service Dog, or even how to get one. I am the only expert on me, just like you're the only expert on you. Googling programs for Service Dogs, and getting in contact with them is probably your best bet. Don't walk up

How disabled is disabled enough? It's a short question that can be plagued with a variety of different meanings and interpretations. However, the answer to the question is of extreme importance, because while being 'disabled' can provide benefits for some, not being 'disabled enough', can cause an immense struggle for others.

I was lost among the junipers in the starkly beautiful La Tierra Mountains just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. I sat in a deep stream bed that could drown me in seconds with one flash flood. Lucky for me, temperatures hovered around 60 degrees during a storm-free afternoon. Would I be found by the search dog, I nervously wondered?

Service Dogs and Assistance Dogs aren’t the only dogs in the world who do amazing, life-changing work, but they are one of the few types of working dogs clearly defined and protected by United States federal law. Too many people don’t understand the differences between many types of working dogs, though, and it’s time to clear up some of the confusion.

Service Dogs enhance their human partner’s lives in so many ways. Sometimes, these special dogs even save their human’s life through complex and highly trained task work.

They guide, listen, balance, lead and love. They provide friendship and independence, freedom and peace of mind. They live to serve their handler to the fullest extent of their capability, be it through retrieving dropped items, offering physical support to an unsteady handler or alerting a Deaf or hard of hearing handler to important events.

Before partnering with a Service Dog, there are several important points to consider. While thousands of individuals with a disability benefit greatly from partnering with a Service Dog, it’s not the solution for everyone. If you or a loved one is considering full-time Service Dog partnership, please ask yourself the following 5 questions before making a final decision.

When you have a Service Dog by your side 24 hours a day, you have to accept that you will never be invisible again. Everywhere you go, all eyes will be on you chances are someone will have something to say about the furry partner at your side. Your days of anonymity are gone — and this can be very stressful for many individuals.