Friday, January 29, 2010


I am hoping that this blog will help you when anger is directed at you. Cruel anger, uneducated anger, anger that there is nothing you can do about. I have had Rosie for close to two years now and never have I experienced such anger. The last week left me crying, confused and at a loss how to cope with people who would not listen. I now know this will happen, and be prepared, I was not, probably never will be. I just hope my experience in hell for me, might help you.

Safe in my bubble of my neighborhood that knows Rosie and I, I was not ready for the abuse, (and that is a very appropriate word), that we experienced this week. It leaves me sad, tired and frustrated at the uneducated world we live in!

Most of all, after all the anti-anxiety medicines I had to take after this week, I am tired and emotionally exhausted. I wanted to so give back the hurt that these people gave me, all in a big wave of 'why did you hurt me so much?' I wanted to so hurt them back..they crushed my very soul. My soul and Rosie were happy with our world, how could they be so ignorant and mean?

So exhausting is this week of people telling me that I cannot enter there store, that Rosie is dirty, being put out on the street waiting for them to give me a contact number, and knowing that they will let me wait out there for hours before even acknowledging I exist. I was nothing to people this week, neither was Rosie. I was SO ready to call the police, but called my safety net, Sharon and Ryan. They drove all the way from Burnaby to South Surrey to help me. They are your support, never be afraid to call them. They are hugs and professional.

I experienced severe anxiety, depression and low self confidence. 'Invisibe Disability,' will explode when an abusive situation happens. What emerged was my anger, for my being, for my rights, for my service dog. When someone is yelling and abusing get scared, I did. Never did I forget my rights and called Sharon and Ryan. Even the people at my son's school were so concerned they went to talk to this person and came back very upset and concerned as to my rights and safety. Sadly, even this special person from my son's school came back frustrated and hurt.

Thank you are so close to my heart..(my son's school!) Thank you Sharon and Ryan, for your support when needed.

If you hurt me with your ignorance of the law to insult the only thing that has allowed me my independence and life.. I just lose my patience! I educate, I show my BC Government Guide Act certificate and stay calm. This I have done so many times and educated so many people, hundreds!

All this week people did not listen, did not want to see the law, pushed me away with a wave of there hand like I was nothing. My disability, my rights, my miracle Rosie, was dirt beneath their feet. They ignored me and would not be educated.

My rights as a human being, (as I have just become accustomed too thanks to Rosie),were shattered. Again I was the little girl, in trouble, being abused, afraid, losing my mind.
I am mentally ill, and can function in daily life with Rosie. Some things will put me over the edge, and it is not fair. It is my human right to walk into a store with Rosie and purchase something. When this was taken away..I was a little girl, and that made me sad.

I have been through enough. Rosie has given me life. Someone that is so ignorant as to not even listen to the law and abuse me is criminal. The fact that they feel it is their right to yell at me and order me out of the store is beyond me.
HUG your dog and leave!

It is VERY hard for me to write this as I am so angry and hurt and crying. My only wish is that the next disabled person that walks into this store will not feel as humiliated and crushed as I did.

Sharon and Ryan came to my son's school, (by the store) and by that time I had taken so many anti-anxiety meds, I was in control. Remembering the incident now, I am not. How dare some stupid person infringe on MY right as a human being and my beloved dog that I have been so dedicated to?? My service dog that I desperately need to even take my son to school?

My very wise friend Sharon told me that this week's incidents would affect me for a long time and at this time I am shedding a tear at her words. She is right. The cruelty and mostly the ignorance of people this week has shocked me into tears.
HUG your dog and leave!

I cannot stop being so angry now, or saddened, or stop writing.
My special people out there, when in trouble, call your support people, they will be there. Sharon and Ryan will figure it out, they make it right. All you really want is to make it right. I read that one of the most basic needs of a human being is to be heard.

For the next disabled person that walks in that store and is not abused, discriminated against, or make to feel so very small, I salute you!  I will advise and protect you with information and advocacy. I will tell you that Sharon and Ryan are the best people to call in this kind of discrimination.
If your soul is broken, as it always is with this disease, hugs and love your service dog. My Rosie got me through this,I am so proud of her and will forever with pride show her certification to anyone who so abusively asks for it or not.

This was a rare, ugly, long week of hell that I do not think will happen to you. If it does, stay strong, cry your tears about the injustice of this world. Talk and be comforted by Sharon and Ryan, they know, they understand.  The anger was hard to forget, but that is what our service dogs are there for, to show us the love and help us live our lives.

Above all, no matter how hard it seems, ( to me now too), know you count, you matter, your are special and worthy in this world.

"Who Your are Makes a Difference

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I love today! My mom is bright and happy, like the sun.  She is so serene yet full of life amongst the trees and mossy, bouncy fields at the park.  We are as one, so in tune with the welcoming warm air and majestic, emerald trees.  It is Saturday today and this day always proves an adventure at our park as we encounter many other dogs out for a spirited romp.

SQUIRREL!!  Sorry about that, those little furry creatures get the best of me!  I look at Mom, apologize with my eyes and look for a discreet place to, you know, nature calls!
Thanks Mom for cleaning that up!  I wonder why Mom picks up my poop? Strange really.  Hey! Shilo is here! My Golden Lab friend! We walk side by side with our owners, Shilo is always leashed and that makes me so happy that he is safe!  Happy chap that Shilo!  Timber! Where is your leash? My friend Timber is a huge Rottie cross, huge!  
Timber's heart is as big as he is, I pray he stays out of danger.

Together, we are a team in sync. We speak the same language and flow like a calm river stream. I wish we could stay here forever today! I met a dog that looked like a bedroom slipper, all white and fluffy. What is this? 'Spike' started barking, more like a 'yip, yip'!  Goodness!
Hey Mom, can we quietly just walk by this ferocious little slipper?  A husky cross was training over the grassy, soggy hill.  I watched with interest and remembered the early days of training with my Mom.

We were not always this natural, calm and confident!  My Mom was very nervous as to our understanding each other and I really did not know Mom either! I have travelled countless miles and lived with many other people. Would I stay here, who was this person?  Would she keep me safe and love me?  What can I get away with?  How am I going to train her?  Our early days together were funny, unorganized, clumsy, scary, frustrating, heart warming and full of promising success!

Just getting out the door seemed a complex maneuver!  Choke chain goes which way? Come on Mom, lets go!  'Dress', on with the cape, Mom's clumsy hands, practice, practice.  We are going shopping, first time as a team!!!!!! Sharon is coming too! Mom is racking her brains thinking of commands, at the proper time, the PERFECT, RIGHT command, don't mess up, figure out what to say to people, be calm, don't run over me with the shopping buggy, she's funny! I see Mom and wish she had 5 hands..awww. Wallet, leash, money, backpack, bankcard and me are confusing tasks in my Mom's mind.  Change falls, Mom pays with shaking hands and we survive! In the beginning, what the heck do ya hold on to first? It is just not natural! The cashier asks Mom the nerve racking question, "What do you have her for?!!".   Amazing clerk, she really rattled my Mom! Blunt, direct, almost accusing questions, on my Mom's first day! Mom is sweating and blushing! Her brain is on automatic pause, caught off guard, stuck.  Sharon to the rescue! Phew! Encounters of the service dog kind!  People will shock you, laugh at you, test you, question, and most sincerely appreciate and be proud of you. I feel that most all of the people we meet are kind, interested, friendly and very curious.

Our next challenge was a bus trip.  Ha, Ha! Ryan and Sharon came to help Mom and I, this time we both were VERY nervous! Where to sit, where do I put my butt and big fluffy tail, what does Mom say to the bus   driver?  We sat, we calmed, we rocked.  Today when we get on the bus we proudly take our disable seat, excuse me people! I tuck myself away promptly and we relax for the ride. I must admit the sky train takes getting used to! I seem to slide on the slippery floor and the loud vibration is threatening! I began to shake when some threatening person hit the sky train window with an angry, loud THUMP, THUMP !!!!!!!!  Mom, you were there to calm my fears and hug me. I was so very frightened.
A bus driver told Mom she was not allowed to take me on the bus. Mom took on the challenge and explained that I was a certified assistance dog.  The bus driver was unbelieving and rude.  He exclaimed, 'that is not       even the right type of leash!'.  Mom wanted to say, 'I'm not blind, you idiot!', but she kept her cool. This was one individual that did not need to know Mom's illness, I know he would have been less than understanding!                

I remember training in Richmond with Sharon, Ryan and Turner. Sharon told Mom to call me to 'come'. Mom wanted to do everything, PERFECT! She started to move forward and 'come'. Yup, great move Mom but the commands are for me Mom, not you!! A leash is not a simple tool to conquer!  Mom used to hold my leash so high I thought she was trying to catch a bird! We laughed so hard! Mom has come a long way with her training since then!

She started taking pictures of me everywhere we went and even asking other people to take pictures of us together!  A very strong loving bond was formed and it grows stronger every day. A bond of trust and love from time together on many adventures.  Every day is a learning experience. If you are nervous, I know you are dedicated, you take me or your service pal seriously, you care. I promise to listen, if you don't nag, and will learn with you. Every mistake we make will teach us something we need to know.

My Mom and I have tripped over each other and fallen down, lost control over a sudden appearance of a nasty pooch, become entangled in the leash, stumbled on words and which side does she walk on again? When Mom first corrected me I had no clue what she was doing! Why are you tugging, I thought?  With practice Mom got it right and I know when I need to focus.  I found food under a restaurant table and ate it.  Mom was mortified! I have tested her patience and will continue to do so! My Mom is funny and she loves me so much, a little testing of her watchful eye is rather amusing and I like to know my boundaries.

Mom had to explain to best friends and family that she needs extra time, to get me ready, to potty me, to groom me, to be with me. They are just now starting to understand our relationship and take it seriously. If I cannot go with Mom, she will not go, period. Confidence!

I remember one JSR event when someone told my Mom, 'excuse me, your dog is walking out the door.' Mom jumped so fast off her seat I thought her butt was on fire! Funny Mom, she was so surprised!
Have you taken your service dog into a small bathroom stall yet? When even the handicap stall is small, this proves to be a wonderful new challenge! The bathroom stall door opens inward, so in we go. Now, Mom has to close the door with me directly in the way. She doesn't want to squish me so she directs me to the other side. It must be such a funny sight! Trying to maneuver with not even inches to spare! Squish, move, turn, Mom really has to go! I will tell you that Mom has done her business many times with the bathroom stall door open before we conquered the gymnastics of it all!  Oh my God! She would tell me, PLEASE don't sneak under the stall to those friendly looking feet next to us. Funny Mom!

Pick up my food dish? Pick up KEYS? Those nasty metal things? I don't think so! Thank you my friend Sharon for the patience and dedication to persevere with us. Throw me something now! I will retrieve it and give it to you. I will pick up my food dish too, you need your socks?

Enjoy your mistakes and downfalls, learn from them. Me and Mom did. Laugh at yourself and realize how far you have come, be proud.  I am here to lovingly serve my Mom, I trust her with all my heart. When I look at her my doggy heart smiles! I am dedicated to her because we have weathered the storms and come through it a better, stronger, connected,  team. Remember who you are, be proud, never stop learning and laughing!
Your hard work matters, who you are matters, tell yourself every day... 

"Who I Am Makes A Difference"               


Thursday, January 14, 2010


Its getting better! Little by little, life begins again. I am not quite there yet, still sleeping and waking at all hours. This butterfly knows she will be breaking out of that dark cacoon, I know it, right Rosie? Woof! 

The fog is clearing, there is joy creeping in! Thank you Rosie for the fresh cleansing rain at the park. I breathe life with you every morning. You were absolutely halarious today! Just plain goofy! Rosie, you lift my spirits, you make me laugh. Rosie would like the next blog to be funny, and I will give her that wish. Thank you for being with me through this very rough ride. I hang on strongly because I know you are all out there, and of course...
for us all....
'Who I am Makes a Difference'

For the wonderful new teams of West Coast Assistance Teams and all of us who have had the pleasure of training, loving and just trying to get darn organized with our special dogs by our side, the next blog should be quite entertaining. I am going to laugh and Rosie hopes you smile and have a giggle too!
Hugs and Love Always
Leanne and Rosie

Friday, January 8, 2010


I must share with you the good times and the bad. How quickly mental illness can take it's ugly hold upon us! I forgot.  To know that you are there listening helps me, I need you now.  I have fallen. My eagle cannot fly and it saddens me. I cannot stop crying.
My Rosie is not just by my side but has her head constantly on my lap. She tries to make me laugh by picking up socks and throwing them up in the air. I roar!

She knows this is a very rough time, Mom is hurting.

I HATE this disease. It steals my life. I feel I have no control. I do not know how long this episode will last. I do know I will not answer the phone or have anyone in my house. I am so ashamed of my house, my appearance, my very being! My body hurts. I cannot get out of bed often. My Rosie alerts and barks, (right in my ear!) till I do get up,,good girl. Our trip to the outside world of the park is all I can handle right now.  I do not want to see anyone or talk to anyone, because I am very ugly.
Selfish? Yes, this disease is selfish. My world right now is of deep despair, my angel Rosie and my computer.

These wolves capture what I feel, I love them so much.  I love animals, they are the innocence of life. I cry for them. They feel, they hurt so bad.  When I see the pain in there eyes, someone hits me in the stomach, hard.

When times are dark, I am trapped, a prison cell cacoon.
So much shame, from where?  Self blame and guilt attacking every breath. I don't know. If not for my son and my Rosie, I would be in hospital. I know that for sure. They are the tiny light of connection, love and hope. I am so tired now and want to sleep, again! If I am not sleepy I will eat everything I can until I am. The binging will stop the tears for awhile. This is brutal.
Thank you so much for listening, it does mean the world to me. The best thing for a very depressed person is just to listen. Do not expect an answer to the phone, it is just to hard to talk, think and even know what to say. Answering the phone is a very scary thing during these times.  A psychiatrist told me when you do this you have a personality disorder, (amongst other symptoms). Whatever. He gave me a book to read. Did not help.   I want to get better. I am just so tired of something that grabs my neck when I least expect it, all through my life.  I am going to hug Rosie, my son and go to sleep.  I love you all and so deeply understand what is behind the everyday face we show to the world.  I have no choice right now but to go with what the demons are enveloping me in. This cacoon of cold, dark, sadness. I cry to hope that a butterfly will soon be free.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reflections In This New Year

Hi everyone!
Rosie and I are so happy to say hello and Happy New Year!
I am different now.  I shower! I have showered every day for the past week.  This is good, yes?  This did not happen before. Somewhere in the journey of life I stopped caring.  I care now, I matter!
This realization is really rather astonishing!  I did crazy things with my hair over the holidays. I styled it, curled it and attached blond braided extensions. I put makeup on!  My wonderful friend gave me new makeup as mine was so old it was scary!
I wore nice, dressy clothes! I washed them and wore them again!  Christmas day at my sister's was amazing!
Rosie and I came home and then WENT OUT AGAIN on Boxing Day.  I kept going, I kept LIVING.
Can you guess who was right by my side through the laundry, showers, hugs and joy of this holiday season?
You got that right, my Rosie.

I flirted!  Me!  Ha, ha, ha...too outrageous!  I HAD FUN.  I mingled, chatted, laughed, hugged and cried.
I loved my family and dearest friends because of the furry warm support from my special girl.  Honestly, the best Christmas I can ever remember.  My sister cried when it was all over.  I could understand her happy tears. This was a very special Christmas. I LIVED it, wow!

Rosie?  She had the time of her life! Her elite group of holiday pals included Trinity, (the legendary Jack Russel), and her dearest friend Kessa, (my sister's husky/wolf cross).  We attended exciting West Coast Assistance Teams events where Rosie visited Buddy and Delhi. She even met her sister, Party!  Today Rosie met 'Buddy', my best friend's  Moluccan Salmon Crested Cockatoo.  Amazing bird! Social girl my angel is!

Listen to me! Hugs, love, people, laughter, fun, joy, confidence, tears, family; these are real for me now.  I believe them.

Heartfelt and most loving thanks to West Coast Assistance Teams.  Sharon, Ryan, Michelle, Scott and Mel, you comfort me. Sharon and Ryan, your gift of Rosie, your love and dedication is thought of every day and held special in my soul. 
Joyous thanks to Sue Turner and all involved in the unforgettable evening at the Cottage Bistro Pub in Vancouver.  A night I cherish with pride.
Take a diagnosed bipolar, clinically depressed, anxiety ridden, agoraphobic individual, ( I believe there is a personality disorder in there too!) and put her on stage to speak.  She has the support of her angel Rosie. She feels warm with the understanding, trust and comfort of the most wonderful people she has ever met.
There is no breakdown, the world does not end. She feels empathy, confidence, acceptance, worthiness and love. When can I go on stage again?!!! Bring it on 2010! Rosie and I are ready!

Well, I am off to bed, going to shower in the morning, (what!?) and do some shopping.  People are so attracted to Rosie when we are out and about! She connects me to this wonderful new life. You know, the darkness does creep into my life but I have the light and loyalty of Rosie to brighten those days.  It is nice to like myself, to love Rosie and to live.
Hugs, woofs and the warmest of wishes for the new year! You count in this world, without you the world would be less special place.  Tell yourself a loving truth,

'Who I Am Makes A Difference'