I wanted to talk to you about my experiences today, being a Guide Dog owner comes with a lot of responsibility and challenges and I have been faced with many this week as everything is new and Olga and I are still forming a partnership. She’s very young still and very clever so if you allow her to sniff or play when she’s in work mode/on the harness she can try to go slower on walks when you need to get to a destination. If she doesn’t go to the toilet on time this can also cause her to be distracted as she doesn’t think straight when she needs the toilet. In the rain this isn’t fun! I persevered with her and we are still getting into a routine but it’s not easy and there are sometimes when I say to myself, is it easier just to get out my cane? But when she walks you through hundreds of people in a busy place it hits me why I applied for a Guide Dog and how much more friendly the general public are about letting you pass them with your cute dog by your side. This is the best feeling ever and I would not give Olga up over her not doing what she’s told occasionally after all a dog isn’t a cane that you can fold up in your bag, they are a living thing that loves you and is there to solely guide you. However, I did have an incident this week where the response from some members of the public weren’t too friendly to me and Olga and this caused me to have a huge panic attack. I already feel vulnerable about public places as you are the one that people look at, I struggle with this a lot being a young woman – my image means a lot to me like most people of my age. I really struggle with the thought of being unwanted. I know that not everyone has the same views on disability be it due to personal or cultural reasons but whatever the reason a person has, I feel that they don’t really have a right, in a public place to make me feel like I shouldn’t be there or that I have a problem. My first encounter in a shop with Olga went a little like this: A person refused to get into a lift with me and then backed away whilst scowling. A person looked down upon me whilst walking past in the aisle. This made me feel ashamed of being in the shop. People who I didn’t know were pushing me out and making me feel like even more of an outcast than I already felt. This caused me to have a panic attack. I stood in the middle of an aisle with Olga and just froze. I felt unwanted; it isn’t my fault that I’m in this position. I felt even more vulnerable than usual, I had had such a hard week trying to build up a relationship with Olga and people were undermining this. Many onlookers don’t see the importance of a Guide Dog and don’t understand how it may change a person’s life, like mine. I guess I was just upset with my position in life and the fact that people in shops were making me feel uncomfortable. It was unexpected and made me freeze with the realisation that not everyone accepts disability and not everyone accepts Guide Dogs. They just see me as an annoyance. I then started to cry and wanted to run away from the shop but my legs stayed still. I didn’t know why I was letting people I didn’t know make me feel like this but I was. How could I be offending anyone when all I’m doing is trying to get on with my life in the happiest way possible? I’m not saying all people are like this and the majority are very accommodating but I guess that doesn’t stop the feeling of being in a minority.
I’m not going to let this defeat me as I know that humans are a race that will never agree and will never see eye to eye. This won’t stop me feeling anxious when walking around. I think eventually I will feel comfortable in my own skin, enough to say ‘you know what I don’t care I have a right to be here, just like you’ at the moment I don’t feel that confident but I’m getting there. I’m a great believer that every experience you have in life makes you stronger.
In other news, I have a new email address which is: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to contact me about anything I write on here, my videos, business things or just to say hi I would love to hear from you! I thought I would create an email as it is more personal and can respond to email privately if necessary.
I had filmed a vlog for you guys but I had my hand over the camera lens so I’m having to re-film that. It’ll be up for you sometime this week! So look out for that 🙂
Have a lovely week