Several years ago I started noticing a trend of handicapped parking ramps by the back door where they take the trash outside. Especially at this place where I used to buy lunch on a regular basis. Notice I said, “used to”. I realize when taking out the trash it is better to do it where it has the easiest access. However, when this is done where people must use the handicapped parking ramp, it can make for an uncomfortable visit. Not only that, the outcome might be the loss of a valuable customer.
When I look back at where I have been; insecure, reserved, and anxious, I have to marvel at how far I have come.
It all began with Chancey. Because of her I am able to stretch my comfort zone to new everyday heights. With her it’s nothing for me to go to places I would not have before.
Then recently I got a Doberman Pinscher. She is 5 months old and sweet as pie. While Chancey stretched my comfort zone, Grace, my Doberman, taught me how to be assertive. Before these dogs, I allowed people to walk all over me.
A couple of days ago my sister visited. She made reference to me acting different than she ever saw me. I made the suggestion that perhaps she sees me as more assertive and authoritative since I am having two high energy dogs. She agreed to this.
I also believe this is true of me. I have gained a lot more confidence, especially after I bought my Doberman. I can see myself more assertive as life goes on. For me that is exciting because it opens up a new world to me.
Yep, looking back, dogs have changed me for the better, too.
Today, I am calm, confident, and don’t mind a healthy risk every now and then. I can honestly say, Life is better with my two dogs. I am very grateful.
With love, Trey
Making the bed…probably one of the most difficult tasks I have to do sometimes. I do have help during the week, but there are times, like tonight, that I am left to do it myself.
Unlike most people who can make the bed while off the bed; once I tuck the bottom two corners, I have to transfer to the bed, and sit on the sheets in order to stretch them over the top corners of the bed. This takes some arduous work since I am actually sitting on the sheets themselves all the while, stretching them to their respective top corners. I have to lift myself up using the pole hanging from the ceiling. e
Before the pole, I had to do a lot of crawling on the bed to pull the sheets in place. It definitely takes a lot of time and patience for me to put sheets on the bed.
Lately, I’ve started to look at making the bed from the perspective of achieving a goal rather than an arduous task that’s not fun to do. The goal perspective actually makes it worth while. I have used that method for other things as well. Setting achievable goals has helped me to achieve greater goals in the long run.
Now I can’t imagine not having some kind of goal in mind. Whether it’s learning to play another musical instrument, training a new dog, or rolling a longer distance in my manual wheelchair. When I’m goal-oriented, I’m more motivated.
While making my bed is still a difficult thing to do, my goal is to get faster and more efficient.
Continuing to set goals.
One of my favorite past times is going to the downtown square. Sometimes I’ll go meet my friends for lunch, or I’ll take one of my dogs for a walk. It’s incredibly accessible, except for maybe a few old buildings. The City has done a lot of great work to make our square look beautiful, and attractive.
One of the most frustrating aspects of going to the square, especially when I am meeting friends, is when the handicapped parking lots are full. It seems to happen around lunch time while every one is in a hurry. Too many cars using the handicapped parking places don’t even have a permit anywhere on their car.
If you are not disabled, please be courteous to those of us with a disability who are quite active and out-going.
I emphatically love dogs. Going on walks with mine is often the highlight of my day. Often times, though, walking dogs can be tiresome. Especially when you have energetic dogs! They tend to need more walks then I can give them in pushing strength through my manual wheelchair.
While down at my father’s over the long weekend I asked him if I could borrow the scooter. (He has kept one there for me to use around his property.). He was happy to lend it to me.
That was the best idea! Now Chancey and Grace get really good excercise. On top of that; each dog (walked separately) gets some quality time to bond with me.
If you have dogs, and have a disability, maybe you already have a scooter and walk your dogs often. If not, I want to recommend you try it. See if it revolutionizes your dog walks the way it has mine. Until next time…
Some of you may be pondering the thought of a guy in a wheelchair owning a Doberman Pinscher. I get that. I mean…a small guy in a wheelchair walking a Doberman Pinscher on the square will attract some looks!
On top of that I used to be terrified of dogs!
So why a Doberman?
Dobermans are one of the smartest breeds in the world. On top of being watch dogs, they make excellent companions.
2 . Activity
For those of us with Spina Bifida, I believe being active is so important. I have fought kidney stones most of my adult life. I believe,in part, due to inactivity.
Dogs in general give me purpose. When I had to go on disability, I had lost my sense of purpose. For many years after, I remained in a depression. I was bitter at everyone around me, too. Then I met a dog trainer who taught me all about dogs.
Til this day I continue to learn about dog behavior. She helped me find my purpose. Now I can help others understand their dogs. love Chancey and Grace. Having dogs has been the best thing to ever happen. They gave me purpose. Whether you have a disability, or not, having a purpose makes the biggest difference. If you haven’t found yours; find someone who knows you well. Ask them to help you find it. It’ll make a difference.
There’s a term in the politically correct community that is incorrect. That term is, “special needs”. I will address this from a Biblical worldview.
First of all, I won’t pretend that I don’t have special needs that others don’t. Just the same, others have special needs that I don’t. However, to use the term, “special needs” as a label to represent people with disabilities is a misrepresentation of who we are.
Speaking for myself; I don’t have any desire to be anymore special than the person next to me whether they have a disability or not. The only reason I am special is because I was created by the same God as everyone else. In God’s eyes, that makes us all special to Him. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 ESV
Secondly, we were all created with the same purpose;
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV
The second word in the term, is “needs”. While my needs may differ than many, they are no different to me than your needs are to you. I was born with the same needs as I have today. The fact is, we all have needs. As a person with Spina Bifida, my needs can be vastly different than a person who was disabled due to an injury. But that doesn’t make them any more special than mine.
As a Christian, there is one Special Need that out does any other the world can offer. That need is to be saved by the savior of the world; Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul said it best: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19
“…in Christ Jesus”.
Who really has special needs? We all need Jesus. Can’t get any more special than that.
One night as a teen my family and I, while on vacation, visited a park. The park had lots of rides. Many parks like this one allow for people in wheelchairs and their families/friends to go through the exits and get in front of the line. As a young kid I felt like a king. But this particular night I felt like a tool.
There was talk amongst the others about wanting to go on this roller coaster that turns upside down. Some in my family wanted to go, including a friend of my sister’s. When I would not go that friend tried to guilt trip me into going and was mad that I was steadfast.
Later she apologized for trying to use my disability to get into the front of the ride.
It is an honor for me to give people that extra privilege who are with me. When my friends and I go to concerts, etc., I will often ask them if they want to ride with me so that we can park close. But when I sense there is an alterior motive, that can be demeaning.
Privilege? Most of the time, yes. But sometimes I would just like to wait in line with the others at parks.
When I was in middle school, years ago, I was pushing myself through the hall among other kids, going to our next class when a friend of mine pushed me into a wall. I didn’t think he meant to do it, nor do I think he realized it until a teacher saw it and decided to make him sit in a wheelchair and roll around during the school hours as a punishment. I know he must have felt humiliated at the beginning. However, by the end, my friend got a good idea of what I face on a daily basis. He got to experience many of the obstacles I face and try to figure out, himself, without getting out of the wheelchair, how to over come it.
This memory reminds me of that old saying, “Walk a mile in my shoes”. Suffice it to say, this young boy who had to use a wheelchair that whole week, learned how to “walk in someone else’ shoes.
Whether my friend was trying to move me out of the way or not, that fact that that experience made a difference in his understanding of people who use wheelchairs. We became better friends as a result.
Several years ago I was going up an inside ramp at church when a friend asked me if she could help push me. I must not have responded too kindly because years later she reminded me that I was determined to do it myself and turned her help down.
I’m all about determination; I mean…it’s helped me come a long way in life. But sometimes I can be so overly determined that I forget receiving help can be a priceless gift.
For instance, I was with a friend recently. We were discussing this very thing. A little bit later, as we were going up a rocky path it all of a sudden became easier to roll my wheelchair. Instantly, after having that conversation, I knew my friend had felt comfortable enough to take some initiative to help me; confidently knowing that I would receive it without being asked. For me, this created a mutual trust.
If you are in a wheelchair, don’t let pride of determination get in the way of a trusted friend’s genuine desire to help push you, even if you can do it yourself.
If you are not in a wheelchair, but are a friend to someone who is, don’t be afraid to ask to help. If you’re on the same page, it can help build a bridge of trust.