Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blackberry is My Name

Fostering is going well. Although Blackberry has ripped a pajamas top and several rolls of toilet paper. And is currently working on my feet. My trainer got a look at him last night and remains noncommittal. You really just can't tell at this age what kind of service dog he might turn out to be. He is amiable, and sociable. More important, he has learned to leave the cats alone. It's really saved his bacon.

I reread my post on MI, or mental illness. I am not sure I want that out there. I have to think of getting employment somehow, sometime. But I have also been trained as an advocate for the voiceless and poverty stricken. I love that job. It's too bad that the stigma of MI limits us in the present. It didn't do that in the past for the following:

Abraham Lincoln, Virginia Woolf, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and Ernest Hemingway. None of whom had a resume, but most of whom ended painfully.

And if I can make life better with someone else with MI, then I will leave that post up. It's a selfish decision. It will be to my benefit to be met with understanding when I talk about my Psychiatric Service Dog. And there is another reason.

I was friends with a veteran from the first Gulf War, Desert Storm. He passed at the age of 26 recklessly fighting himself and his memories. It pains me to think that something like a service animal could have saved him, when millions of animals are put to death across the U.S. every year. It's spitting on the gift that the Universe gave us,  to watch him and those animals die and not speak up.

What will we do when our current soldiers come home? The cost the American public pays as a result of it's wars has been carefully hidden since Korea, in the 1950's.

I am suing the Veterans Administration for reasonable accommodation for my service animal. The case comes to trial February 23, 2011, at the Poff Federal Building in Roanoke, Virginia, USA. It's the same building I was forcibly removed from with my service dog, Eddie, over 3 years ago. Since then, the VA has consistently tried to make the case around my disabilities. It says I am unstable; that my disabilities aren't "real" since they are invisible. It says that my service animal wasn't "real" because my disabilities are not located below the neck. It denies that any animal can help me.

The VA is the only government agency to endorse this view...a truly frightening prospect. Veterans have been arrested for walking on base or to a doctor appointment accompanied by their service animal. This is on federal property, folks. Service animals are protected under the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act. It's a key piece of legislation based on the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1972 Equal Employment Opportunity Act. The VA is acting as Mubarak in this case. It says that I have rights, but not on federal property, doing a federal job.

Those with MI are targets for the barely human I call sociopaths: the M.D. that raped and stalked me targets women who are mentally ill. He is still practicing. I was fired by a small company in Eagle Rock, VA who lied about my conduct and stability, simply because of their fear of my diagnosis, and what it might have meant to the bottom line. It's not that I wanted their disability benefits, but why take that chance in a State that only pays lip service to workers' rights? That is: Virginia, USA.

That the government endorses this attitude makes me feel quite ill. My disabilities are linked with creativity and art in the brain's pathways. They are linked to thinking outside the box. They are not illnesses in other cultures, but signs of a Universe that likes to bestow gifts.

Standing, knee deep in grass,
I turn to see you.
The fire is coming...

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