Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My new life with Hermione, my service dog

Sorry I've not updated in so long. My whole life changed the day before Valentine's Day when I received my new partner service dog Hermione. She brings magic into my life everyday. We go out everyday by ourselves and I walk faster, because I don't have two kids in tow and because Hermione matches my steps, so if I stumble I have an area where I know to go.

I hadn't realized how much subconsciously I avoided going out without my adorable kids. But now I have a pretty dog. People smile at me and open doors for me and Hermione instead of getting impatient with me for being slow or dropping things or worse make rude remarks as if I can't hear. Hermione also opens my fridge door, pushes push plates and picks things up for me.

I thought I was getting a dog to help me. The organization I got her from is called Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). I've also thought of myself as an independent person and spent the first few days I was at CCI wondering if I belonged there with folks in wheelchairs. Then I got really discouraged as my spatial issues became profoundly clear. Then I actually worked on them instead of spending that time kicking myself for not for example understanding how a door opens without actually seeing it open.

One of my LJ friends put it best I've spent most of my life trying to "pretend I was a defective normal person instead of a "ok person with a disability." As one of my classmates said to me "I embrace my limitations rather than fighting them so I can do more." I am still exhausted from my training and my increased physical activity of exercising a dog and walking more. But my whole outlook has changed. I don't fight to get by. I try to figure out how to adapt conditions to improve my life with my disability. Already I'm doing more. I can't wait to see what future brings.


Anonymous said...

That is so awesome. I'm stoked for you!

D said...

Wow how awesome! I find that I am much more active then before when I wasn't with my furry partner. Much more independent too! I am glad for you!

Daisy said...

This is such awesome news! "A defective normal person vs. an okay person with a disability" -- I need to look at this statement closely and see where I stand. I am a hearing impaired person working in a hearing world. How do I really, really see myself?

Synaptic Jen said...

I'm so happy to hear that things are going well for you both. It is a wonderful experience having a service dog and I promise you that with the years the bond will grow stronger and you will find even more ways that she will help you live a more active, happy life. I still feel that Kramer gave me my life back and really helped me realize that even with dystonia life can be exciting and fun. He has helped me get out and enjoy life without worrying so much about what I can't do because of dystonia.

I hope that Hermione continues to do the same for you. Congrats and hugs to the both of you!