Service Dogs and Mean GirlsTuesday, August 2, 2016
I am struggling.
The past year with Lucy has been a battle. We have watched her behavior deteriorate and not know why. We've seen her very sweet personality change so quickly that I feared a tremendous amount of depression was swallowing her up. She struggled at home and she was struggling to make friends with the neighborhood girls her age.
But, as far as the neighborhood girls are concerned, Lucy was not the problem in the situation.
Lucy has always been such a kind, loving girl who accepts absolutely anyone as friend. One time, we were at a Chick-fil-a and overheard two little girls point at Lucy and one says, "I am going to enjoy breaking her heart into millions of pieces." Roger's mouth fell open. He quickly gathered the kids up and packed them into the van and told Lucy, "I don't think those girls were very kind."
"Why?" She asked, maybe five years-old at the time. "Because of what she said about shattering my heart into pieces? I don't mind. I still made them my friends."
But back to present day:
Here we are, finally understanding that Lucy's battle has been because of epilepsy. She can't go swimming. She can't climb her tree that she loves. She can't go anywhere without an adult nearby. She knows that she has absent seizures that leave her befuddled and looking odd to her peers...
And the neighborhood girls are truly mean.
Today, one of the girls brought up Lucy's epilepsy. When they were gone and she was sad, she told me that it was her fault they weren't nice. She said maybe it had something to do with the epilepsy.I simply assured her that it was not her fault, and never could be her fault, if other girls didn't want to be her friend. I told her that she has always been nice to other people, always treating them with respect and kindness. She didn't believe me.
I don't know what to do to help Lucy feel a little less awkward. I don't understand how I can convince the girls in our town to accept her and be kind to her--treat her as if she belongs. So with this, added to the depression that the epilepsy medication causes, and the emotional meltdowns and impulse control issues, life in the Cooper home is tense. Mama and Papa bear are sitting on their hands doing all we can to not march across the street and loudly claim that our daughter is the kindest, most loving, generous little girl there could ever be and everyone should take lessons from her!
One afternoon after Lucy came home in tears, I did march across the street with red hair whipping in the wind and my mouth set in a firm, angry line. I was going to kindly, but strongly ask just what those girl thought they were doing making my little girl cry. But the girls were gone, thank The Lord.
So now onto the service dogs for children with epilepsy:
I've check into a two organizations that offer service dogs to children:
4 Paws Four Ability
ICan Service Dogs
4 Paws has enormous fees but they say they help the families with fundraising and they also have dogs specially trained for children with seizure disorders, not only alerting parents to seizures, but offering emotional support.
ICAN is accredited for Indiana and has a much lower fee but they don't train dogs for children with seizures. The very neat part about their organization is that the dogs are trained by specially trained inmates, helping the inmates also achieve higher success when reintroduced into society.
I don't even like dogs. I never have. I don't like their kisses or the smell of their breath or just their smell in general. But I love Lucy and I love how she takes to humans and animals with a tender spirit. I know that it would help her with so much, not just her health but her emotional needs. I believe a service dog will offer a good deal of peace in this home...
So I will learn to love a dog.
I love the cats we got for her. I do. I just really hate the litter box.
I don't like the tortoise, though. It's ugly and really does absolutely nothing but bask under the heat lamp.
And I despised the several beta fish that smelled like death rot.
But, those things don't count.
There are many options. We can try to apply and hope our application is accepted and then work hard to raise the funds. We could test our luck at finding a dog and pay for special training and a test to have them certified as a service dog. Or we could just sweat it out and work on everything on our own. We can try breathing techniques and things like that--which always slip my mind in the middle of a hellish meltdown where I am trying to stay sane too.
I have no idea.
I'm kind just out here floating in crazy scary waters.
And you know what the real kicker is? I'm scared to death of floating in deep water out in the middle of nowhere.
I am terrified of drowning.