Yesterday (or maybe the day before yesterday, by the time I finish typing), the occupational therapist came to visit the house for Canine Partners. This happened at my last house too, but obviously I had to move.
It mainly consisted of condensing my main disability into an easy description. Which in itself, was not easy. She had a look around the house, especially at the garden, where I will have to set up a proper toileting area for the dog. Ironically this is something I have spoken to the applicants to my own small charity about, but I have no clue how to make it work in my garden. She didn’t think the little strip of patio would be a good place to put it, and instead thinks it should go on the lawn.
The problem here is that there are two thick concrete steps going up to my lawn. She thinks if I put a handrail in, then I should manage it, because I manage the kitchen step. Well, I HAVE to manage the kitchen step if I want to leave my kitchen, it still makes my knees dislocate sometimes. I do not want to walk up TWO concrete steps EVERY day, dislocating wildly, to get to my dog’s toilet area. Which, Canine Partners apparently want to be 6 x 6 metres, even though the other ADI charities have it at 3 x 2 metres, which is what I was expecting. The OT’s suggested placement would involve eating into the landlord’s flowerbed, where there is an existing grapevine, two big flowery plants I can’t remember the name of (one of which my landlord’s wife got from the Chelsea Flower Show), and further up is an apple tree, and I couldn’t walk any further anyway.
The OT was a perfectly nice lady but I’m still grumpy at the notion I can “manage” two steps in a row, regardless of how much tissue or how many arteries I may rip in the process, pretty much because she wants me to, and also the proposed butchering of my landlord’s lawn for a very excessive amount of room for dog pee.
But I have to do whatever they say so I can get a dog. She pointed out that my application was sent in more than three years ago. Yes. The people on the same applicant assessment day as me have long had their dogs, but I’ve had one housing problem after another. I’m not well enough to train my own dog again, and even if I was, I’d prefer an accredited dog to avoid as much nonsense as possible. I am nearly 30 and I never leave my bloody house.
I also had to take her on the route I would take the Canine Partner for exercise on the Common with. I actually went along the same roads that we filmed the other day for the “Terrible Pavements” video, and she thought they were utterly horrendous (bear in mind she walks routes with wheelchair users for a living, and she was still flabbergasted).
Apparently it’s mandatory that I have to improve my road confidence before getting a dog. I am meant to get my friends to take me out and have me make the decisions about road crossings. I did try to be confident about it twice, and both times turned out to be when cars were turning in and I didn’t bloody see them. I also can’t keep cranking my neck right around to check. It’s a disaster, frankly.
The OT also didn’t really like our ramp solution. She wanted there to be a flat platform for me to roll onto outside the door. That’s just impossible. The council won’t do it, and even if we could afford thousands of pounds for a private contractor, they wouldn’t have the room to fit the gradient required. My chair’s wheels lock automatically when the power is on anyway, it’s not an issue for me.
If Canine Partners don’t end up liking it, and they actually expect me to pay £3,000 moving house before I can get a dog, I think I will be at the end of my tether. I’ve waited three years so far while most applicants wait one. It is making me bloody miserable. I cannot keep living trapped in my house.
The OT also wanted me to build up more stamina (which is not really how my disability works) because she noted that just going up to the Common “totally wiped [me] out”. I mean, I hope that having a new working dog will allow me more energy to spend because I have to do less reaching and injuring myself, but I can’t exactly get fitter.
I don’t even know why it knackered me, to be honest, I was sat down the whole time!!
I know she meant well with everything but I’m just bummed there is so much people still don’t understand.
Hopefully a miracle will happen and Canine Partners will find me a lovely choccy Lab, sharpish. Or a German Shepherd like I originally said I was also open to, years ago!
In other news, here are pictures of my lovely existing bobble floof:
She just got out of the bath, as you may be able to tell by her fur.