It’s funny how life forces you into situations you never thought you’d survive let alone crave. These past few days have been really hard on me emotionally because of one particular incident. This past Friday, I was denied the opportunity to adopt a pet from the Humane Society of Ottawa based on my disability. They deemed me unfit to care for an animal even though I repeatedly said that I would have attendants to help me to take care of the animal I adopted.
However, this reason was not stated at the outset. After a lot of fake excuses, obfuscation, and beating around the bush in response to my questions about the denial of my adoption, I asked them what the real reason was. They admitted that it was because I was in a chair.
I can’t blame them for being a little skeptical of the appropriateness of a shelter animal going to a home with a power chair in it, however, it still felt like blatant discrimination. It would be the equivalent of saying “you can’t adopt a pet because of circumstances you cannot change,” in my case disability. I was devastated after this experience to say the least. So much so, that my two amazing friends went on a mission to find me an appropriate pet.
Thanks to Kijiji we found the most adorable and perfect bunny that I could ask for. She has turned into my unofficial service bunny who helps me through many of my mental health challenges. She is basically me in bunny form: she is disabled—blind in one eye—and as feisty as any bunny can get! The silver lining is that her previous owner had zero cares in the world that I had a disability and was willing to trust me with one of her most precious companions. The moral of the story is that for every ignorant person who is unable to see past your disability, there will always be one person who will step up and show you a random act of kindness.
This week was topped off with another example of a random act of kindness. I met a women in my building’s elevator a couple of days ago who began to chat with me and explained that she had a daughter with very severe CP, and was curious if I had CP as well. She then asked me if I lived alone, to which I also replied “yes.” She said, “I only wish my eleven-year-old daughter will grow up to be as independent as you are.” Her response made all the anger from the Humane Society’s treatment of me disappear.