What happened re my service animals--please read

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by TwoCatDoctors, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    [I originally posted this on the Depression Board--but I thought about it and wanted to post it here to let people that are not disabled in electric scooters see some of the crap that goes on. Sometimes if you don't know about it, you don't think it exists]

    It was such a bad night last night(Wednesday night). I’ll tell you what happened and I’m still upset today.

    I needed to go to the Board of Directors meeting where I live because they still do not have my parking space resolved back from December 2008 and I've been writing them and bugging them for now almost one year. Last week I had written them a letter by certified mail as to my parking space being unresolved and I went to the board meeting last night to try to come to a resolution.

    I can’t go into a room with that many people on my own because of the past traumas and the resultant PTSD, so I needed help from my one cat (a registered and legal service animal) and she came with me in the scooter basket. The cat behaved so perfectly and her and I were sitting quietly and calmly when I heard two witches loudly say “she has a cat, why would anyone bring a cat.”

    Geez, it was like because I was disabled in an electric scooter, I was supposed to be deaf and shouldn’t have been able to hear them—that’s one of the mistakes people make about those with disabilities. Then a member of the Board came to me and asked me to leave the premises because the two women had allergies. I told him NO. (I knew the two witches were not on the board) but the witches started yelling “why would you even bring a cat.”

    From the commotion these two witches were creating, you would have thought I had brought a box of rattlesnakes to the meeting and dropped them all over the floor. Truthfully, it was a disgusting show of humanity and I realize they may face problems in the future where they need a service animal or end up in a wheelchair and then may view things in a different way.

    The Board asked me what was the problem that I needed a service animal (which is another rude and big problem people make with disabled people with service animals) and I told them I refuse to discuss that with them (like disabled people are going to discuss all their medical conditions in front of the crowd of people sitting there that lived in the development). The person from the board did ask if they could help me, which was kind, and I told them no.

    The witches were at it again that they have allergies and can’t have a cat there and I just lost it and began yelling that she is a service animal, and the prior board, management, the management’s attorney and HUD allowed her as a service animal. The one Board member spoke up and said she was a Board member back then and the Board had only approved service animals for me for them to stay in my home.

    Then I got very mad and lost it totally and began yelling that with service animals their use is not confined to a home, and particularly my service animals attend meetings with me, including meetings with agencies. And that it doesn’t matter if you are allergic to a service animal cat. You could be allergic to a service animal dog or a service animal monkey but that doesn’t get you the right to exclude that animal and me and ask me to leave.

    So I was asked if I would go into a small little alcove nearly to sit out the meeting to help out, and I agreed to scooter to that area up at the front door and the witches then went and sat down. I loudly yelled that I also have cat hair and dander all over me, so you were near me before with all the cat fur and dander all over me, so if you were allergic to cats, you would have been allergic to me long ago and not just this moment.

    The Board started the meeting without any more nonsense about my cat. I knew that just moments before I just totally had lost it and had actually been yelling. I felt sick then and was so disgusted.

    When I was in the little alcove on the side of the meeting room and the meeting was going on, I was still upset and I had some problems breathing and I went into a flashback of my mom beating me and I was reaching for my cat as I knew she was in front of me somewhere, and my hands found her and I was petting her and trying to breathe and trying to remember what the therapist told me about coming out of flashbacks. I kid you not that last night was a nasty night.

    They also had still not resolved my parking space. So as to my parking space, I will make an appointment with the new manager (who used to work here years ago) as soon as I calm down and if he can’t resolve it, then I’ll take it to HUD.

    I want God to give me eyes that shoot fire out and I want to destroy some really rotten people. That sounds so bad and I sound so rotten, but I’m so tired of it all. I stay to myself, I obey the rules and I keep a smile on my face until they pulled this sh!t last night. My cat was so good even though I was shouting. God blessed me with two wonderful cats. And as my wonderful cats remind me, I don't want to destroy those rotten witches--I just want to hold them down and smear boogers all over them!!!! (that was the cats' idea)

    As of today, I was not pleased with myself at all for how I handled the meeting. I was displeased that in a situation, that my stress and anxiety went off the chart and I had a melt down and began yelling so loud they could hear me on the other planets. I always try to conduct myself at meetings in a calm manner presenting facts, so for me to really lose it like that is not something I am proud of.

    I also regret deeply my yelling because my poor cat was there having to take it all. For the cat's sake alone, I should have "ramped it down" and not reached their level of being a witch. My cat deserves being treated with the upmost respect because she does so much to help me. I am grateful for both my cats.

    The therapist told me that the Board of Directors should have, but totally failed in their duty to step in to get order from the two women right from the start--and asking a disabled person to leave because they have a service animal was really bad on their part. So actually the therapist felt it was very good that I really yelled so loud about everything, because all people, including the Board, will know in the future that I may be disabled, but you don't tread on me or my service animal and I won't give in without a fight. The therapist thinks it was good that I fully exploded and it got the point across that you want to fight with me and my service animal then you better pack a lunch because you'll be there a while and you'll face my wrath.

    The next day I called and scheduled a meeting with the Manager (the earliest day available was over a week away), but I believe that should give the Manager time to review and resolve the parking issue. If we can't resolve the parking issue on the meeting date, then I will see if HUD can help me or if an attorney can take it Pro Bono (without cost).
    [This Message was Edited on 10/24/2009]
  2. AnneTheresa

    AnneTheresa Member

    I agree with your therapist's assessment. Had you been polite and well-mannered in this situation you likely would have been seen as being passive, so your speaking up (loudly) and demanding respect was probably the best course of action. At least they'll have no trouble understanding that you won't be trifled with. Good for you! Following up with a meeting to resolve the issue (without those horrible women in attendance) is a great idea - I hope the meeting goes well.

    I think it's great your cats work as your service animals. If you feel comfortable sharing, I would love it if you could elaborate on how they attend to you, and what process you followed to have them declared service animals.

    God bless,
  3. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    Thanks so much for your thoughts.

    I had some big traumas that left me with terrible stuttering (I never stuttered in my life) and I was disabled and was not functioning. It then got worse.

    The cats arrived in one night and the breeder was moving and had given them to me for free--it was wonderful. They had been in cages all their lives with a breeder, but I had visited them and we had a "connection."

    Within a week the cats were more acclimated and were learning how to navigate steps in my place and playing with toys. I showed them so much love and they really responded to that as they hadn't gotten it, except when I visited them at the breeder. I slowly began training them (there is no cat training facility in our state) and they learned and did well. I even trained them to ride one at a time in my scooter basket. And I use a dog clicker and they will come and that's important in case of fire and I can't speak, so that I can get them out of the home.

    Five of my doctors wrote letters in support of having the cats and the Independent Living Center (that helps the disabled) also supported that and helped me contact the Disability Law Center, who helped me write a letter to the management where I live. The letter was to ask that the "no pets" housing place where I lived allow my two as service animals under reasonable accommodation for the disabled. The management here didn't go for it and hired an attorney. That's when the Independent LIving Center told me to get HUD involved. HUD got me my cats and where I lived had to take Fair Housing Training and they were fined.

    My cats do so much. I have lost some hearing and since my doorbell was pryed off the outside of the front door by someone at night, I can't always hear people when they knock. My one cat comes to me and "signals" when someone is at the door.

    My other cat alerted me when someone was outside the window late at night when we were watching TV. I heard nothing, but he heard and stood up and stood like a pointer dog. I turned off TV and could hear someone in the landscape stones outside my window. As quickly as I could with my cane I got up and turned on the outside light, then peered through the blinds, but the person was gone.

    My one cat kept signaling me and I couldn't understand and she kept signaling and going to the back sliding door. Finally I went to the back door and found I had left the back gate open. So I got in the scooter and closed it and locked it. This particular cat is a neat freak and likes everything in place. After I closed and locked the back gate, she got in her bed at the back sliding door and took a nap--she couldn't nap until that back gate was closed.

    The one helps me when the back pain gets very bad and is my pain management partner too. That way I don't have to use pain meds and we can get the pain down to a more reasonable level. (I so did not want to be on all those meds after being released from the hospital after damaging my back and becoming disabled).

    They both understand when I am at the desk and pushing it too much and need to rest. They are take a tag team effort to pester to get me to stop and rest. They can sense when the back pain is starting and I need to take a break and rest. They're excellent.

    They do so much more. Plus I take them to large support groups several times a month (so many people there) and to an agency review meeting I have to go to every year. The agency loves them and even announces my name with the cat's name and they are welcomed warmly because whatever cat is with me behaves so well. At the agency, I usually get many agency people who come into the meeting room to met whatever cat I brought because none have ever met a service animal cat that can stay in a scooter basket and remain quiet. So I think they use me like a training lesson for their employees to learn that service animals come in all shapes and sizes to help the handler.

    I have them accredited and registered through SARA an organization that not only will register service animals (you have to fill out their paperwork and state exactly what the service animal does and there is never enough room for what my cats can do), but hopefully if the animal is lost may get them back to me. So my cats do have SARA service animal ID cards with photos. SARA also provides for various types of service animals, and they have types of wear for service animals to alert people they are service animals and much more.

    My life was at the worst before the cats arrived. With the cats my life and my independence just increased so greatly and I felt more empowered to do things on my own. Both cats help when I get the occasional terror PTSD nightmares and they help me focus that I am home and I am safe. Other animals might run, but these two actually know my dreaming is painful and stand on the bed for when I wake up--I'm so grateful for this help.

    I hope this is the info you were looking for.

  4. Pippi1313

    Pippi1313 New Member

    If you had remained "polite", the witches would know they could be openly evil & horrid, & you'd be expected to take their abuse.

    As far as "the board" goes: Simply ask them if they're aware of the legal ramifications of violating the ADA.
    "Boards" dislike legal ramifications....

    But I do know how awful it is, to be forced into a confrontation.

    Well. They wanted confrontation, & they got it!

    But I also know that with PTSD, all confrontation is at our expense, whether we "win" or not...

    BTW, your cats are AMAZING!!!!! from what little I've read of them.


    You might wanna go online & print out exactly what constitutes a violation of the ADA. Present the info to the director AND request it be posted in a public place.
    (Just a suggestion.)

  5. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Sorry about all the flack you have been getting. I wonder if Paris Hilton gets any when she brings her "trophy" dog in her purse when shopping on Rodeo Drive.

    You could start telling people you are her.

    Seriously, would something like a sign on your cart that says, "Service Cat" help?

    It sounds like you have a plan to help move things alone. Good for you!

    Hug those kitties. Better days are ahead.

  6. Granniluvsu

    Granniluvsu Well-Known Member

    Gee, I cannot believe that those witchey people were being so rude to you just because you had your service kittie there.

    Glad that you gave them what for and that you will be going back there to try and get that business with your parking space takinen care of. Now, they should know not to mess with yiu sweetie ! Good for you ! However, I do not think that youshould have had to get that way because they were being so rude. They just shouldn't have been so rude to you in the first place.

    That is great that you have two service kitties that are being so helpful to you.I had heard alot about service dogs but never had heard of service cats before. That is a wonderful story about your kitties. Thatg is fantastic.

    Please let us know how it all turns out for you. You go girl and your kitties too !!

  7. spacee

    spacee Member

    Yours is one of the most moving stories of having a severe disablity and overcoming it to the most you could. It is so inspiring.

    Other than that I don't have much to say except thank you for posting this.

  8. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    It just burns me up that I have worked so hard to keep my disabilities from stopping me and have worked to keep independent--otherwise I know back then I would have taken to bed, never gotten out and ended up in a nursing home. Then I encounter people where I live who seem to want to take that independence away so I can't function productively.

    I'm already fighting the place where I live because in December 2008 they announced they were not sure if the one parking space of mine (my one of two parking spaces that came with my unit) would remain mine. I need extra space because I have to load and unload a scooter off my car. That's why the handicapped spaces usually have that extra lined space next to it--to allow people to offload wheelchairs, powerchairs, electric scooters, etc. So I need extra space and if they take that parking space away, I will not have the extra space. There are no handicapped parking spaces here.

    That's why I'm meeting with the manager and if he can't help, then I'm asking for any help at all from HUD or from a Pro Bono attorney.

    The other choice is that I could go to a board meeting without my cat and the overload of stress with all the people would end up having me vomit all over (the therapist knows I have a history of that). I don't want to do that because it would be highly embarassing to me, but that's the key reason I take a cat to the yearly agency review meeting because no one wants me to be sick in their conference room. If I barfed at the Board meeting where I live, they might even be able to forbid me from going again because I cannot take it medically to go there. So I have to be careful.

    Please everyone, the next time you hear of a service animal cat or a service animal monkey, remember my story and go the extra to give them a break and a chance at being independent. Thanks.

  9. Pippi1313

    Pippi1313 New Member

    I hate it that you have to deal with these evil idiots!
    I wish I could roll right over there & give those people what-for, so you & your angel-kitties can take refuge in a peaceful place, til the dust settles!!!!!

    Rocky is right:
    If your residence receives ANY federal or state funding (HUD, etc) they MUST provide handicapped parking. Not just a "reserved" space - but a space that is wheelchair (or scooter) accessible.
    A "reserved" spot is useless, if a wheelchair-bound person can't get to his/her car door - much less, get the scooter/chair in & out.

    I've been in places that "comply" with restroom accessibility by sticking the little blue sticker on the door. Problem: A wheelchair can't possibly get in there.

    Oh yeah, I gave 'em 13 kinds of heck, loudly!, informing them they were in violation of the ADA.

    But, in a few of those instances, I (being mechanically/technically inclined) led the manager to the restroom & politely pointed out a few simple changes that would make the facility actually accessible.
    In one case, it was simply a matter of turning some hinges around, so the door would swing out, instead of in.
    That manager (in a restaraunt) was dumbfounded at the screw-up.
    He was actually VERY apologetic (& I hadn't even raised my voice), & said no one had ever brought it to his attention before.

    I realized then, I have something of a responsibility for educating peeps. Most of this stuff never occured to me, before I experienced the world from a wheelchair. Hence, I don't expect peeps to automatically know some things... But - that's only true for SOME things!
    Other things, one would think, would be obvious....

    No business or residence, or other public entity can merely pretend to be in compliance.

    I just KNOW you & your purrrr-pals will be victorious.
    But, I also understand PTSD, & I'm SO sorry they're putting you thru this!!!!!!!

  10. AnneTheresa

    AnneTheresa Member

    Thank you so much for sharing the story of your cats. I've read your posts in the past - here and on the depression board - and so I knew of your cats and their role as service animals, but I did not know the extent of the service and care they provide you.

    Your cats are truly amazing, as are you. Thanks for sharing.

    God bless,