Did you know that, as a service dog, I am considered adaptive medical equipment? Doesn’t it seem strange that I’d be considered equipment? But in its true sense of meaning, I am!
According to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), a service dog is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the disability of their person. And under the law, I am considered necessary medical equipment.
Adaptive equipment would be defined as devices that are used to help assist a person with their activities of daily living. And I do that for my mom. But I do a lot more, too!
I do the many tasks that physically assist my mom. Things like picking up all of the items she drops. Opening and closing doors, drawers, and the refrigerator. Helping her tie her shoes or take off her jacket. And even flushing the toilet.
But beyond the physical tasks, I provide comfort and companionship. And unconditional love. Which those inanimate assistive devices can’t do!
My mom is always telling me I am handsome!
I am also a bridge to a community of people who oftentimes are uncomfortable being around a person who looks different. Like my mom, who uses a power wheelchair and is fully dependent on a ventilator to breathe.
When my mom and I encounter people they often comment about how handsome I am. Or how well behaved I am. And they often ask questions about me. Or share stories about their dogs.
But if my mom is out without me, these same people may just look away. And not even acknowledge that my mom is there. Which creates a feeling of being excluded, instead of included.
So, as you can see, I attract attention. But in a good way. I have soft yellow fur and big brown eyes. IMy behavior is excellent. And I am very handsome. Because I am approachable, people feel more comfortable talking to my mom.
When my mom first became fully dependent on using a power wheelchair for her mobility, she didn’t have a service dog yet. She knew people might feel uncomfortable approaching her because of the wheelchair and her disability.
Jiminy Cricket on my mom’s chair!
After much thought, she decided to put a stuffed Jiminy Cricket on the back of her headrest. Although he was an inanimate object, she felt it might work as a conversation starter. And an easier way to help her be more approachable.
Jiminy Cricket worked perfectly to increase the comfort level of the people she encountered. Because not many, if any, would approach without an easy way to begin a conversation.
Jiminy Cricket has been my mom’s traveling buddy for nearly 27 years. But you know what? For her, the very best traveling buddy is me! Because, not only do I help my mom feel included, I increase her independence far beyond measure!
Even though my mom has me to help her, she also uses various types of adaptive equipment. This makes her activities of daily living easier. Some examples of these are a special type of reacher to get objects that are much too high for me to get. Silverware that has fat handles for ease of holding. And other types of adapted utensils to assist with food prep.
I sometimes need to get the reacher for my mom!
All of these things are helpful and needed. And they increase her independence in a variety of ways. But they have limitations. So at times, my dad has to help. But most of all I help.
Do you know what my mom’s very favorite adaptive medical equipment is? It is me!
I have to share a funny story with you. Which probably isn’t surprising. Since I keep my mom entertained with my silly antics!
The other day, after my mom’s appointment, we were waiting in the lobby area for my dad to pick us up. My mom glanced down at me and noticed I was looking intently toward the other side of the lobby.
Looking to see who was on the other side of the room!
What caught my attention? The wall across from us was a huge mirror. I was looking at a reflection of me and my mom! But at first, I didn’t know it was us.
Since I was so curious my mom took me over to check out who was there. I cautiously approached. Once we were at the mirror I wagged my tail and poked my nose against the mirror. Another dog! But all of a sudden I realized it was us. And not another person with their dog.
My mom is always telling me that I am silly and very cute. With a fun personality! Isn’t entertaining my mom and making her smile part of my job? If not, it should be!