Archives for July 2008

Department of Justice Proposes Vast Changes in ADA

Recently, the DOJ proposed some rather alarming revisions to Titles II and III of the Americans With Disabilities Act. These changes include:

  • A new definition for service animals;
  • A significant weakening of the readily achievable barrier removal requirement for public accommodations;
  • A significant reduction of elements required to be accessible in state and local government facilities;
  • An exemption for all existing facilities from the new recreation and playground rules;
  • And many others!

IAADP as an organization has already made an official comment regarding the new service animal definition, emphasizing that the following changes be made:

  1. Eliminate the phrase “providing minimal protection” from the definition of service animal;
  2. Eliminate the phrase “do work” from the definition because it is redundant and the example of work given in the NPRM, grounding, undermines the Department’s goal of maintaining a clear distinction between specially trained service animals and those animals whose mere presence can provide emotional support, companionship or therapeutic benefits.
  3. Limit the use of other species only to animals which can be trained to meet the same standards for behavior and training that assistance dogs must meet to qualify for public access.
  4. Avoid placing a size or weight limit on common domestic animals such as assistance dogs.

Further information from IAADP can be found here.

These changes in the ADA, especially the service animal definition, heavily impact the disabled community and I urge everyone to please take the time to add your comments to IAADP’s official comments and/or add to the draft comments from Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).

Please understand that even though these organizations (and others like them) have made comments that is imperative that DOJ receive your individual comments. We want to flood them with comments and we need the individual’s voice just as much as any large, faceless organization.

Of Guide Dogs and Kittens

Sandy emails that the kitten is doing well. She’s already using litter and when introduced to food last week for the first time was the only among the three to eat. I replied to say that perhaps the little ragdoll can teach my GSD companion a thing or two.

Ragdoll kitten and her siblings snuggled together

Though, I must admit Miss Yara is doing so much better about eating. She’s pretty consistently eaten most, if not all, of her meals for the last week. I can’t really tell if she’s gaining any weight but let me assure you that she is pooping mountains!1 She is definitely in much better spirits of late, too.

On a somewhat related note, I was speaking with Patty the other day regarding some telling things about Yara. Specifically I was noting that I can always tell, based on her actions, how much she has eaten from a given meal. If she’s decided to completely ignore her food, she’ll camp out in the kitchen usually right next to her food dishes, but sometimes she’ll curl up in a corner instead. If she’s been a good girl and eaten some of her food but not all, she’ll come out of the kitchen and roll around on her bed or rub her face on the hall rug. But now if she’s been an exceptional little dog and cleaned out her bowl, she will hunt through the entire apartment to find me so that she can use any exposed surface of my body as her napkin!

Sometimes she’s really too cute to be real.

  1. Seriously, I have several coworkers who can back me up on this.

Random Things

I had a dream last night that I gave Yara a bath and flooded the apartment. How the two became related I don’t entirely recall, but I assure you it was the most hilarious dream I’ve had since that one about Crunchy Cucumber December Flakes and Heather will vouch for how crazy funny that one was since she was in it.

Yara ate a tissue today. She got it out of a coworker’s wastebasket today and swallowed it before I could stop her. She’s become rather notorious for swiping things from wastebaskets just to have something in her mouth to carry. “Things” here ranging from tissues and napkins to candy wrappers and a chewed piece of gum! Today, however, was the first time she actually consumed said thing. I’m thinking of pulling out the mousetraps I bought way back when because Dolly couldn’t keep her nose out of the trashcan. We’ll see. I mentioned all this to my father and his reaction has now sent me into full on paranoia because of the possible pica tendencies Yara’s displaying. I’m going to give myself an ulcer over this dog and her (non-)eating habits.

On the other hand, two people at work today commented that they believe Yara’s gained weight since seeing her last Thursday. Truly these were the highlights of my entire day. Also, my day was boring and water is wet.

Oh, and I’m adopting a ragdoll kitten. Yes, seriously. And she is adorable:

Ragdoll kitchen

Six Months

In my lack of posting of late, I neglected to mention that last month was the six month anniversary of my partnership with Yara. Also, how did it get to be July already? I’d been expecting a follow-up evaluation, but have as yet heard nothing regarding it. When I called Fidelco, Des admitted they’re a bit backlogged with follow-ups. Oh, well. I’m sure they’ll get out here eventually.

The food saga continues. I actually postponed the vet visit until this coming Tuesday in part because of this. She is doing better with consistently eating for the most part, but honestly if I had to guess I’d say she’s probably lost more weight. It’s incredibly disconcerting. She’s not exhibiting any signs of being sick or infested by anything, but we’ll see what the vet has to say.

We went to the fireworks last night at the Empire State Plaza and they were very lovely. Yara was very good with all the distractions and only mildly alarmed by the fireworks and the noise. Her biggest issue was that anytime there was a lull in the show, she kept figuring that meant we were going home and she’d get up and be all silly. It was very cute.

And, now a few cute pictures! First up a picture of Yara with Dolly’s rejected birthday gift ginormous bone:

Yara chewing on a massive bone

And the pièce de résistance would be some puppy pictures sent to me by Tom and Patty:

Yara asleep in her crate

Yara copying Denby and lying next to him on her side

Yara buried in a huge pile of leaves