Sunday, May 29, 2011

Council of Disabled Animal Friends

This blog is meant to bring attention to various disabilities as well as bringing awareness of some of the dangers posed to animals by humans. Though humans are fragile creatures and capable of being easily harmed, we are in ourselves a danger to the world around us. This will be a mix of cuddly animals and harsh realities.

I hereby call the first meeting of the Council of Disabled Animal Friends to order!
First, I would like to recognize our current members and their positions:

Marvin the Mouse - Chairman

Marvin is blind. He met an unfortunate accident when the buttons that were his eyes were chewed off by the cat of his previous owner. He is chairman of the council, since he has been stuffed animal in residence for the longest period of time. He makes sure that all bylaws of the the council are followed and the special needs of all its participants are met.

Ralph the Cold Bug - Head of Security

Ralph was born with no arms or legs. He belonged to a dear friend of mine until recently, given as a gift way back in high school. When word got out that I was in a car wreck she sent Ralph to me, figuring I could use the company of an old friend. And in that capacity he has excelled. Ralph is head of security for the council; since he's a cold bug he knows the ins and outs of disease and other potentially disruptive elements.

Eric the Sea Turtle - Public Relations

Eric has learning and behavioral disabilities (the tongue), though it's impolite to ask too many questions. He was the gift of an amazing friend out in Colorado. When browsing through a yard sale, she saw Eric and was reminded of me (I've had my association with turtles for a long time). She told the story of my accident and recovery to the women running the yard sale, who gave Eric to her for free. She held on to him until I move back to Colorado. Eric is in charge of public relations for the council. I mean come on, who wouldn't love this guy! As he is the biggest and squishiest of the council, he is the one most often hugged in times of emotion or crisis. He doesn't say a whole lot, but if you need him he's there for you.

Diego the Tortoise - Foreign Outreach
Ned the Green Turtle - Activities

Both of these shelled critters have Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression), a disorder where people to switch between periods of lethargy and depression and periods of elevated mood and hyperactivity. Diego is currently in a more lethargic phase while Ned is currently in a hyperactive phase.

Diego was a birthday gift from my sister, adding to the already extensive collection of turtle/tortoise related stuff I already have. He is a puppet and hails from Spain. He is in charge of foreign outreach and exchange programs for the council, because disabilities are not limited to this country.

Ned was a find at a thrift store on my recent trip to Minnesota. He is the activities director for the council using excess energy planning fun and exciting events. He does require help from Diego and Marvin the mouse when he is in a depressed mood.

Sheila the Stingray - Aqua Therapist

Sheila has a spinal chord injury resulting from a careless driver of a motorboat. The injury is quite low on her spine, so she has use of her fins, gills, and all upper functions. Due to her injuries she can no longer use her tail or stinger, impeding her movement slightly and her ability to catch any prey. She came to me as a homecoming gift when I briefly returned to Colorado. Sheila is Aqua Therapist for those of the group who require physical therapy, using her extensive marine knowledge to benefit the council.

Dexter the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog - Mental Health Councilor

Dexter has nerve damage due to myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease that causes muscle weakness. To assist in his ability to cling to different surfaces, he uses magnets attached to his feet. Dexter was given to me as a birthday gift after a high school trip to Costa Rica, where I got to see strawberry poison dart frogs in the wild.

Dexter is the mental health councilor for members of the council. Disabilities of any kind affect the demeanor and mental status of even the strongest individuals; Dexter provides support for every member of the group in dealing with life on a day to day basis.

Lilly the Sea Otter - Scribe

Lilly has obsessive compulsive disorder, expressed mainly by compulsive munching on kelp even when full. She was another homecoming present when I returned to Colorado for a few months. Lilly is the scribe for the council, taking fastidious notes of every meeting, event, etc. Though many times a disability can be seen as a hindrance, each individual's talents and specialties can be extremely useful if directed correctly.

There are currently other members in the process of joining and they will be added as time goes on.

If you wish to have a stuffed animal join the council simply send me a photo of the animal. I would request that it either belong to you or someone close to you. This is so that these animals are close by, to remind you of the world outside of what you see on a day to day basis. Our world is big but knowing what part we play is the first step in healing wounds of any kind.