It’s time for another edition of The Bigger Picture!
Deaf Dancer Shows Life is So Much More Than Disability
You don’t need to hear the music to dance to it (a theory supported by my own very awkward dancing). Deaf professional ballet dancer Simone Botha shows the world that this is very true. South Africa’s News 24 has a wonderful article on her and how her disability affects her life’s journey.
Housing Unaffordable For Many With Disabilities, Report Finds
This headline is no news to anyone in the area that we serve, Northwest Georgia, because housing is one of the greatest barriers people with disabilities in this area face. However, it’s definitely not a problem that is unique to our area. Disability Scoop has more on a wider net cast for this problem, that hopefully will see progress very soon.
The Doggie Dialogue – Maggie
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 final doggie to interview is Maggie, whose human is ILC Kathy Baker. She’s a curly red sweetheart who helps her human hear the world around them!
Well hello Miss Curly! Tell the people at home your name. I’m Maggie Baker-but I answer to a lot of other things that my Mom calls me, like “thunder thighs” and “hey, girl”.
And what is it that you do for your human? Mom doesn’t hear good so I keep her from being scared when there is someone behind her or when I let her know someone’s at the door. I tell her that there is a storm coming because I don’t like storms so she lets me get on the sofa with her.
That’s a very important job! I know that you have very keen hearing. So what’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t helping your human? I like to chase cats, although the one we have at home is very old and she’s growly all the time and doesn’t like to be chased. Me and Mom like to watch movies and eat popcorn or watermelon. I also like to play fetch with Mom because she doesn’t get much exercise and I want her to be healthy.
Are you the only non-human at your house? Oh no, we have a black and white cat named Precious, see above note and a brown and white Boston Terrier named Baby Girl. Besides Precious being growly, she hides and then gets mad at me or Baby for finding her, although she hides in plain sight. Mom said she was born with a condition called “cerebellar hypoplasia” and she is very old, I think 16 years, so I just don’t bother her because she is very confusing. She’s also very mean if I try to share her food with her. Baby Girl is blind because her first family didn’t get her to breathe right when she was born. She’s OK I guess but she sure has a temper when something comes around that she can’t see. Mom says she has “peripheral” vision, but I don’t think she sees anything even in black and white.
I’m just dying to get the real truth on this question…do you think cats are trying to take over the world? Precious doesn’t seem to be interested in world domination because all she does is eat, sleep and lick herself. The feral cats in the yard aren’t as organized as the other dogs in the neighborhood, so I think that our neighborhood is safe for the time being. I will be sure to keep you posted on the latest.
Thank you, Maggie! Now, describe for us a typical day in your doggie life. I get up in the morning and try to get Mom up without making her mad. Then we go outside and I make Mom throw the ball a couple of times while I do my thing. Of course, I eat breakfast and then wait on Mom to get ready for work. While she’s getting ready, I can take a quick nap. Then we get to work and I wait for Mom to take me out and then I chew on my ball and wait some more. Sometimes, if everyone has gone, Mom will throw the ball down the hall for me. Then it’s time to go home but I’ve been asleep all day so I want to play. Mom take me out as soon as we get home and we play ball and then we go eat and watch a movie then we go out and play some more. By this time, Mom’s had enough exercise so I let her read until it’s time to go to bed.
Can you really teach an old dog new tricks? I’m only four and Mom has trouble teaching me old tricks. I still like to chew on stuff and run after feral cats and squirrels and birds…well, you get it. It’s really not my fault though because I like to do things and be the center of attention and I don’t like having to sit around and be bored.
Don’t worry: we’ll keep you busy here at work! Well if I were going to reward you with a treat, what would it be? Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, blueberries, strawberries, Milk-Bones are always welcome, but if I’ve been really good, I like to go to Wet-Petz and get a spa treatment with a blueberry facial.
You eat more healthy food than I do! So how would your human’s life be without your help? I spice up her life. She feels more confident in public and is way more secure because she knows I am there. I’m also trying to teach her some of the language of my people because then she can tell whether I’m hearing ambulance or a cell phone. She’s getting better.
Thanks for talking with us today, Maggie! Oh, wait…what’s that? I’m cutting into your nap time for today? Oh, I’m sorry. Shhhhh everyone, let’s let her get right on that…
Recent Events at NWGA CIL…
On Thursday, 6/18, we had a visit from Dr. Michelle Haney’s class at Berry College to learn about assistive technology used for vision impairment or hearing impairment. Six students, along with Dr. Haney, spent some time with Maia and Jill learning about what we do for people with disabilities—especially children, as their class was studying how to work with children with disabilities. The class was very engaged and eager to learn how services from IL could help people they work with in the future. They received hands-on experience with some of our AT devices like the Pebble Mini and PocketTalker. They also got to spend some time with Sumner, Maia’s service dog, who is always happy to meet new people and get petted! We thoroughly enjoyed having Dr. Haney and her class here, and if this sounds like something you and your group are interested, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 706-314-0008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
So that concludes our Doggy Dialogues! We hope you enjoyed getting a chance to learn more about our service dogs! Join us next week for another episode of The Bigger Issue!