So this is how it works

This blog has become something different than what I had originally intended.  Originally this blog was supposed to be a daily (ha ha ha…HA HA HA HA) posting in which I tried to teach other people about TS, and what it’s like to live with it.  Instead, it has become more a blog of semi introspection and a general catharsis for myself.

I get upset at a lot, and I worry a lot (a LOT), but I do not often express those feelings unless they are in writing.  Because that is the way I feel most comfortable expressing negative emotions, I often sound like a super negative person, which is not true.  I don’t tend to have a positive outlook on life, but I certainly hate things less than I used to.

The above is meant to be a sort of lead in to today’s blog post, but I know it is disjointed and disconnected.  That’s ok.  That’s how I feel often times.  That’s part of how I feel when I do not have my service dog with me and I’m out and about.

I need to make something very, very clear to people.  It needs to be so incredibly transparent, there can be no mistaking my meaning.

If you want me at a social function with you, you can also expect my service dog to be in attendance.  If you do not want Strauss at your function, by extension, you do not want ME at your function.

My service dog is not an emotional support animal.  I do not use him because I need emotional stability.  My service dog is medical equipment.  My service dog is no different than a wheelchair, a walker, or a cane.

It is my choice not to use a wheelchair, walker, or a cane.  You know why?  Because I’m fucking 26 years old, and I’m going to stand without the aid of something that makes me look like an 80 year old invalid.  As long as I can stand with the aid of my dog, I’m using my damn dog.

I have, can, and will sever relationships if I need to.

It is not a joke.

Strauss is my means of physical support.  He allows me freedom, he allows me to be independent, he allows me to be social.  Do I get stared at?  No.  HE gets stared at, and that is ok, because now instead of being some freak with a dog in a store, I am viewed as I should be viewed.  I am a fascinating individual that just happens to use a service dog.  I am a person, instead of “some poor young soul in a wheelchair”.

I am not comfortable in a wheelchair, and on days when my neck is out of whack, or my hands won’t work properly, how am I supposed to propel myself along?  My legs collapse, I do not have a limp.  If I fall, how is a cane or a walker going to help me get back up?

Strauss is not an adornment, he is not a pet, he is not a toy, he is not a nuisance.  He is an extension of me.  He, in someways, is me.  I am not ok with relying on another human being while I am trying to be social.  The whole reason I have a service dog, is so I don’t have to do that.

If I sound angry, I am angry, and I have a RIGHT to be angry.  You cannot justify telling me to leave my service dog at home, because it makes you uncomfortable.  Certainly doesn’t make me comfortable to try and hold onto somebody who has NO idea how to properly stabilize me, and so, not only could they hurt ME, they could get THEMSELVES hurt.

Strauss is trained to brace for me, to catch me when I fall.  Strauss is trained to pull me forward, so I don’t fall backwards.  Strauss is trained to help me up if I make it all the way to the floor.

So please, let me reiterate one more time:
Where I go, Strauss goes.  I will not sacrifice my safety for your comfort.

If you have a problem with him, then you have a problem with me, and relationships will be adjusted accordingly.

Flail on,
– Classical Spazz

A note from the author:
I would like people to know that this is NOT directed at any ONE person. I had my “last straw moment” with a comment someone made (and please, don’t assume you are the one that made it….don’t worry about it), and this post is attacking an ignorant idea that people have about service dogs. It is NOT a post attacking an individual (or individuals).

It MUST be clearly understood that a service dog is not like a jacket…I can leave my jacket at home when it’s warm out.  Not so with a service dog.

I have to adjust my ENTIRE life to be able to have a service dog, which seems like an inconvenience, but it is a small price to pay to be able to be independent.

If I know *exactly* what I am going to be doing when I am away from my home, it MAY be possible for me to leave my service dog behind. For example, there is no need for me to take Strauss along if I’m just driving to the post office to drop off a letter. It’s right down the street, I’ll be on my feet for like, 5 seconds. I’m fine.

But I cannot spend entire evenings out by myself without help, and I am not willing to submit to the whims of others so they can have a good time while helping me around. My choices are either “sit and smile at everybody as they pass by”, or “follow my “helper” around, talking to people I don’t want to talk to”.

No thank you.

So again, this post is to help people understand why I won’t “just leave him home” and I won’t “just use a wheelchair”.

You don’t have to like it. I just need people to understand and accept it. If I need to skip a function, I skip a function.

Simple as that.

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~ by ClassicalSpazz on November 8, 2011.

5 Responses to “So this is how it works”

  1. Wow, this is so amazingly well written and really shows just how much more Strauss is than ‘just a dog’. You are so very lucky to have him and I wish you all the best in life, and keep up the writting. Sounds like its a good outlet for you and also educational for others 🙂

    • Thank you, Jess 🙂 I really appreciate that.

      Please feel free to linkshare with your friends if you feel so inclined. I also welcome questions. This blog is meant to help teach, after all 🙂

  2. You go girl! And keep going!!!

  3. I can’t fathom why someone (actually or hypothetically) wouldn’t accept Strauss around – he’s a rockstar. And he’s really not intrusive – though it’s a mystery how he manages that while being so BIG.

    You said that this exposition wasn’t directed at a single person, but I truly hope that no one has ever, in earnest, requested a Strauss-less evening.

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