Talk, seatbelt, and accessibility fail


Today I gave a talk at Winthrop University to an MSW (social worker) class! On my way there, I stopped by Aunt Nancy and Cousin Tamara’s house to pick up kombucha. We had a great time chatting, and Hestia made sure to leave some snot on Nancy’s face when we left (she always sneezes on Nancy).

I was really happy to have the opportunity to talk with people who are working with people with mental health challenges! As the professor requested, I spent about half the time on my own personal mental health journey, and half on psychiatric service dogs. I’ve been thinking about Sabrina a lot today, and so I did tear up when I remembered and told them about how I felt the first time she sat on my feet at the shelter.

I think the class really enjoyed what I had to say, and learned a lot from it. There were lots of questions! Some were about service dogs– like how I train a dog to lead me home and especially get on and off the subway at the right times. Some were about medications I’ve tried and what has worked for me. Some were about the therapy techniques I’ve used.

I mentioned the cause of my PTSD in passing during the talk, and during the question period, someone asked a question about it. I answered, and moved on to the next question, but the PTSD question had me remembering things… so apparently I started to ramp up the anxiety. Hestia was spot on, licking my arm. I started feeling the hair on her ears to ground me, and she leaned into my chest for some pressure therapy. I pointed this out to the class, and many of them were saying that they had noticed and thought that was what was happening. I’m really glad they got to see Hestia in action!

While we were in the parking lot, I took a quick video of our seatbelt harness setup for Hestia!

After the talk, I went to Walmart to get chicken for Ollie. Hestia was pretty much perfect in the store, though she did slide around on the slippery floor a bit he he he! It made some people laugh! She didn’t bat an eye, good for her. When we got to the checkout aisle, of course I picked the aisle with a bag of beef jerky on the floor. She saw the jerky, moved towards it and I gave her a leave-it. That one leave-it was enough for the entire time we were in the line (and we were there a while since the person in front of us had payment problems)!

I felt like after the busy day I deserved a reward, so I stopped by 7-eleven for some juice. This is the same store that yelled at me for not vesting Hestia, and that always has a sign in the accessible walkway used for people with disabilities to get out of their cars with and get into the store. If this space isn’t available, for example, we cannot extend the ramp in our van, and Brad can’t get out!

Well, they had the sign in the way AGAIN! I took a picture, and plan to complain to corporate AGAIN. Ugh! I did take Hestia in unvested, but no one said a word. I got my juice, and when I mentioned the issue with the sign, they did move it right away which was nice. But they said the owner tells them to put it there. So I will have to make sure he knows he can’t do that.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been super busy helping people with service dog stuff and talking with friends and family. Time for a rest for me! Below is a picture of Hestia (small black and white dog with a smushed face) in the van, a video of her seatbelt setup, and a picture of the sign in the accessible space.

Edited to add: I found a great video that explains accessible parking and the need for these access aisles, and I will embed it at the bottom of the post, too.

Hestia smiles at the camera, ready for an adventure in the van!
Hestia smiles at the camera, ready for an adventure in the van!
Outside the 7 eleven store, there is a yellow hash-marked space that is supposed to be available for people with disabilities to use to get out of their cars and get safely into the store.  There is a sign selling soft drinks right in the middle of the walkway.
Outside the 7 eleven store, there is a yellow hash-marked space that is supposed to be available for people with disabilities to use to get out of their cars and get safely into the store. There is a sign selling soft drinks right in the middle of the walkway.

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