As the article 19 Examples of Ability Privilege from Everyday Feminism points out, it is a good thing to be aware of one’s privilege and appreciate it. This awareness can help create compassion toward the needs of others. We can all be a little more patient with those whose needs exceed our own and help create equal opportunity where it may be lacking.
Not all of the examples in the Everyday Feminism article refer to things we experience with Melora, and some of them never will. But you might get a little taste of what we do on a regular basis if you:
1) get a big stroller and weight it down so it totals about 50 pounds (you will never be able to use stairs or fit into small shops with this thing);
2) pack everything you might possibly need for 2 days away from home, every time you go anywhere;
3) put a 35-pound disabled puppy in the stroller, wearing a diaper that needs changed every 3 hours (btw, there are no changing tables for puppies so good luck there);
(Disclaimer: I am not calling my beautiful little girl a dog. But she is just cute and sweet, like puppies are. And adopting a puppy is something a lot of people can relate to or have at least heard about.)
4) try to explain to people who don’t understand that your puppy can’t talk;
5) keep puppy happy and entertained and try to understand what she wants by her facial expressions, because if you don’t she will howl, especially when you’re trying to talk to someone;
6) help your puppy move and stretch several times per day, move her often;
7)try to explain to people who don’t understand that you’re not forcing your puppy to stay in the stroller, she really cannot move on their own and if you took her out of the stroller she would just lay on the ground;
8) try not to look too upset when you see other puppies playing with toys and playground equipment that is meant for typically-developing puppies.
9) don’t expect to sleep more than 3 hours in a row at night because puppy can’t rearrange herself to get comfortable, so you have to help at least once every night;
10) remember to double-check her food to make sure it’s soft enough and cut small enough to not cause choking since your puppy has swallowing issues;
11) pay more than you should (or can really afford) for rent so you can live in a house that’s not too difficult to move her around in and is big enough for all her equipment;
12) worry often about the future and how you’ll care for her when you need help caring for yourself, and then how your puppy will live without you, or worse, how you’ll survive if you out-live your puppy;
13) skip events and activities because you can’t find a babysitter who can handle your puppy and the event/activity is incompatible with your puppy’s schedule and/or needs. And don’t even think about air travel;
14) love your puppy more than you can say because she is more than worth all the effort.
We try to have a good sense of humor, especially about things that can be hard to deal with. I don’t expect anybody to go out and adopt a disabled puppy to see things through our eyes. But if you did I’m sure you would get the best cuddles ever, just like we do, because words aren’t always required to say “I love you”.