The Bigger Picture, Issue 13

Well hello there, amazing & wonderful person! Great to see you back (or for the first time)! Here’s this week’s installment in The Bigger Picture…

Prosthetics with Pizazz for Female Veterans

Assistive technology doesn’t have to be purely for function; some would even argue that aesthetics are an integral part of function in all things. This seems to ring true for prosthetics, and specifically for Dan Horkey, an amputee who infuses art into artificial limbs. Made from a shade of dull beige/tan/brown, maybe some metal and a few black pieces, are what comes to mind when most people picture a prosthetic device. But just as humans customize their bodies with decorations such as tattoos and piercings, Dan Horkey and Prosthetic Ink are customizing these body parts for individuals with disabilities. Here’s a Washington Post article on his work, and a link to Dan Horkey’s organization, Prosthetic Ink.

*And just because we like you, here’s a bonus sidecar for this post: an article about a flamingo in Sao Paolo who recently got a prosthetic leg.


States Consider Better Pay For In-Home Caregivers

The Independent Living Philosophy considers being able to stay in one’s own home as a key part of IL (if the individual chooses to live at home), and for many people with disabilities this is an achievable task, however it requires things that are often not necessary for people who do not have disabilities. An accessible area, social supports, and assistance from caregivers are just a few of these things. We here at NWGA CIL see regularly the importance of in-home caregivers, and so do many others across the country working with CILs or living an independent life. Read here about the latest updates on the struggle to have in-home caregivers supported financially in the best way possible. 


USBLN and Wells Fargo Officially Launch America’s First Disability Rights Museum on Wheels

Some of you may be familiar with the “Road to Freedom” ADA Bus, which tours the mainland US states promoting and garnering support for the Americans with Disabilities Act and all that comes with it. (Some of our staff have had a chance to see it in person!) Well the bus has a new sibling: America’s Disability Rights Museum on Wheels!

Turn Around Don’t Drown®

Here’s an invaluable tip from the National Weather Service: Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.


The Doggie Dialogue

Humans aren’t the only workers at our organization! We have several hard-working, dedicated service dogs that assist our staff members with their daily lives. Our Executive Director, Maia Santamaria, has a faithful companion in Sumner, the dapper gentleman of this week’s edition!

A Young Sumner and his human, Maia, in Times Square

A Young Sumner and his human, Maia, in Times Square

Hi there! Could you tell the folks at home your name? Sumner

Nice to meet you, Sumner! So what is it that you do for your human? My job is being her guide dog and keeping her safe. Don’t get me (or mom) started talking about all the blind drivers out there. I also help her meet people. Sometimes I even find a chair that already has a person sitting in it. I’m not sure why she doesn’t like that, everyone laughs… 

What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t helping your human? I love to put as many squeaky, squishy dog bones in my mouth as I can. I’m up to four. I also like mom’s socks.

Work hard, play hard!

Work hard, play hard!

Oh my goodness! That’s a lot! Well, are you the only non-human at your house? I live with my buddy, Buck, who is a lab mix about my age. I also live with five cats, all of whom are between 15 and 19 years old. They are pretty cool.

Great transition to our next question: do you think cats are trying to take over the world? No, I don’t think they care that much about it. But they sure like to take over our beds.

Haha! Hopefully you’re right about them! Describe a typical day in your doggie life. I get up, take care of business, eat, drink and play. I go to work with mom, but I never know what we are going to do. Sometimes I get to sleep all day while she works in the office. Sometimes we walk downtown for lunch or errands. I hate clothes shopping. It is so boring. Sometimes we go to conferences, and I get to keep her feet warm when we fly. Sometimes mom and dad and Buck and I go on walks and hikes. I love meeting other people and dogs, and I like variety in my day.

2013 NCIL

Wow, and I thought I was busy! But tell me, can you really teach an old dog new tricks? Who are you calling old?

Uh oh! Uh, let’s go to the next question…If I were going to reward you with a treat, what would it be? Anything edible, even if a person wouldn’t eat it.

That’s true. Edible for a dog isn’t the same as edible for a human, is it? Just one more question, Sumner. How would your human’s life be without your help?  Mom likes to travel and do a variety of things, too, and she tells me that I give her independence and freedom. I’m not sure how, since I am not about to leave her alone. I’ve seen her use a cane, and it’s not a pretty sight.


That’s wonderful! I know that she loves you very much, and is so appreciative of your help. I’ve had a great time talking to you, Sumner. Thanks for your valuable time!

sepia sumner


What a handsome young doggy! It’s such a delight having him and the others in the office with us throughout the workdays. Join us again next week for another installment of The Bigger Picture, with another Doggy Dialogue! In the meantime, enjoy your day, and please don’t ever hesitate to contact us for anything we can help you with!

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