Public Property

Being blind and a guide dog owner, the following post struck a chord with me (http://viscourse.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/public-property.html). In it, Deborah, a visually impaired guide dog owner, describes how a lady interrupted her conversation with a friend in order to ask whether she could pet Deborah’s guide dog. When Deborah said “no” the interrupter left in a huff, which to me is remarkable given that she had rudely interposed in a conversation in order to gratify her desire to pet Deborah’s (working) guide dog.
I, like Deborah find that unthinking people regard visually impaired individuals as public property. The worst instance I can recall of this occurred some time ago. I was crossing a busy road when a gentleman began stroking my guide dog, Trigger in the midst of stationary vehicles! On other occasions people have asked me deeply personal questions regarding my relationship status. Such enquiries would not have been addressed to a non-disabled person, yet those posing them think it is acceptable to ask whether I have dated disabled or non-disabled women.
I recognise the importance of educating people and am usually happy to answer questions provided they are sensitively phrased and put in a respectful manner. I am also delighted for people to say hello to Trigger but only when they ask politely and by so doing they don’t put my safety and that of Trigger in danger.
Noone, whether disabled or non-disabled should be considered as public property.

Kevin

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13 thoughts on “Public Property

  1. Jack Eason

    Besides the individual you mention in your post, there are two other ‘types’ of ignoramus’ I would dearly love to punch Kevin. They are the ones who either completely ignore impaired people or else take the mickey!

    Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Thanks for your comment Jack. As regards those who “take the micky”, its both sad and stupid. Anyone can, at any time become disabled or develop a long-term health condition that severely impacts on their life. Those self-same people who mock today may, tomorrow be hit by a vehicle and end up having to use a wheelchair, then they will be laughing on the other side of their faces. People with disabilities can live rich and fulfilling lives. Indeed many do so, while those poking fun at the disabled are individuals frequently possessed of little intelligence and with stunted existences. Kevin

      Reply
  2. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    What’s wrong with the world’s educational system that AT THE VERY LEAST, there might be enough disability awareness that kids are taught that guide dogs aren’t pets when they are working – presented in a manner that they remember it when they become adults?!

    It is no more appropriate to interrupt to ask to play with a working pup than it would be to walk into a board room in the middle of the meeting expecting to play with a human in an administrative role!

    It certainly must make you testy to have to explain the basics over and over and over and over and over and over . . . I can get really grouchy explaining executive functioning challenges repeatedly too. Most days I educate to the best of my abilities, but some days I simply can’t be patient.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Many thanks for your comment. I agree with all that you say, although I must confess that the thought of someone going into a board room to play with a high powered executive made me smile! I did offer to go into my local school to talk about the work of guide dogs, however they never took me up on the offer which is a great shame. Having said that, the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (the UK charity that trains assistance dogs for visually impaired people) does go into many schools to educate pupils about the work of the organisation. Kevin

      Reply

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