Dr Riggs shows us that dogs help us see beyond the obvious to the human behind the disability.
We live in a world where it seems like we need to put labels on everything and everyone. We need to pigeon-hole people according to race, sex, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, able bodied and disabled. We do the same to animals. Why do we do that? Do we classify animals and people so we can justify our perception of a particular group and expectations of them? I don’t know. I do know when it comes to “so called” disabled people and pets, many assumptions just are not true.
I have had the pleasure to have been involved for many years, with a wonderful organization, Canine Companions for Independence. Canine Companions provides highly-trained assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities, free of charge. The assistance dogs are Goldens and Labradors, specifically bred to be service dogs.
The recipients of these special animals, truly have their lives transformed. Most no longer feel disabled. These dogs allow them to do almost anything you can do. One recipient told me that before he had his new companion, people rarely approached him in his wheel chair. Now with his new dog he said people treat him like… a person. Imagine that!
We all have our limitations and challenges in life. Some are more obvious than others. The “disabled” are people too, and many have never seen themselves as disabled. So don’t be afraid. Interact. You too may be as fortunate as I have been, and gain a whole new circle of friends.
For you that have read my previous blogs, you have already been introduced to Pixie Stardust. Pixie was a special little creature that was discarded due to her condition. Due to the incredible love and dedication of a good friend, Carolyn Paxton, she was able to walk and play with other dogs and people.
Pixie Stardust recently passed away, but what a wonderful short life she lived. Here are a couple of new videos that I know will bring a smile and probably a few tears.
May is All About Differently-Abled Pets at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: differently-abled dogs and people
Guest Post: Pixie the Chihuahua Mix - a remarkable story of love and dedication
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Differently-Abled Pets
Life with Differently-Abled Dogs
Other posts by Dr Riggs
Dr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.
Call to action: Dr Riggs is participating in Pelotonia, raising money for cancer research. In fact, in its first four rides, Pelotonia has attracted over 11,100 riders and raised over $42 million for cancer research. Check out Dr Riggs' profile page where you can learn about and support his efforts. Thank you!