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My granddaughters...

...the Border Collies and benefits. I've changed my mind.

JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 22-Aug-2018 19:39 Message #4723762
As mentioned on another thread, I have children with hidden disabilities and my daughter has ME.

If you haven't heard of ME, it means Myalgic Encephalomyelopathy, often mislabelled chronic fatigue syndrome. Neither label truly describes the reality of this condition which comes in various severities, but the latter implies a kind of "tiredness" which in reality belittles the true symptoms.

So when one's daughter is virtually unconscious for days at age 16, then "improves" to just being virtually unconscious 50% of the time, at 33 she is unlikely to have the children she would love to have so her claim to benefits allow her quality of life in caring for her two dogs, both of which were unwanted "rescue" dogs.

The older and first one she adopted around 6 years ago was a rejected sheep dog. The dog was in it's 3rd home, filthy, bed soaked in urine, attacked by the 3rd owner's other dog. I though borrowing this dog would make my daughter realise how she was too sick to care for an animal. After all, as a disabled student at Falmouth University, even the local Indian restaurant and Italian pizza house used to deliver food to her bed because she was too sick to answer the door.

Anyway, the first night I received a phone call. "Mum, I love her!" my daughter stated.
She had exhausted herself showering with the dog and taken the dog into her bed.

This dog, then aged around 7 took my daughter on as her "job". The dog was nonchalant, cowered if one bent to kiss her or pat her, but this dog "tuned in" to my daughter's moods and physical health. Obviously, such a lifestyle with a debilitating illness can consequence in depression so sometimes it was hard to tell the difference between physical sickness and emotional demotivation...but the dog could!

When my daughter felt life was just not worth it, the dog would make her get up to feed it or let it out. When my daughter was too sick to move the dog would not leave her for hours, even to eat.

Now my daughter is back home and we manage a walk at the local water park, the dog is always glancing up to see how she is getting on, whilst the other dog just does what a dog does.

It is so easy to think that when someone is on "benefits" they should be grateful for just having food, or even a TV. People judge they are paying their taxes and feel entitled to judge that disabled people are lower on the pecking list or hierarchy of life, after all, many are not "earning" their living.

My children were born healthy and normal, went through normal school, but my daughter reckons she caught "something" after being bitten on her Duke of Edinburgh Award. Her dogs have been her reason for living, maybe out of proportion to most, but spending her benefits on maintaining her life with these dogs is her quality of life. If they were taken away it would devastate her.

So how do you feel about your tax contributions paying towards a disabled person paying for pet insurance, dog training etc.
Has my experience and view affected your view?
Judance  Female  Berkshire 22-Aug-2018 20:08 Message #4723768
In my opinion, if people qualify for benefits, they have a choice as to how they spend it. I don't think we have the right to say how anyone leads their life or to say how they spend their money.

There are dogs for the blind and the hearing impaired and also dogs trained to help disabled people live independent lives.
It sounds like your rescue dog is worth his weight in gold. As long as your daughter is able to manage her finances, I have no objection at all.

Good luck to them both and I hope your daughter's health improves.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 22-Aug-2018 20:18 Message #4723770
Thank-you Judance, for you view. There is hope from recent research that they might be onto the reason, but ME is right at the bottom of the pile because of the old "Yuppie Flu" association, so hopefully she might be able to be the teacher she aspired to be. She now works 90 minutes a day as a lunchtime assistant and is fortunate to have an excellent employer at a local school.
Judance  Female  Berkshire 22-Aug-2018 23:10 Message #4723787
Before I retired, I was responsible for the education of children who couldn't attend mainstream school. We had a number of them with ME and I went to an interesting day course where a doctor, who herself suffered, gave a fascinating talk.

My neighbour opposite had some months off work last year with ME and could hardly speak at one point.

I would try to make sure that the pupils saved as much energy as they could for being in class. We taxied them in and insisted they only did a short time to start with, gradually building up if possible. Home tuition was organised if they were on a low patch and, of course, no work at all when they were really bad.

I'm glad your daughter is able to be in the school environment, even if for only a short time each day.

It must be hard for you too, seeing her like that and knowing there is precious little you can do to help.


Minnie-the-Minx  Female  Hertfordshire 23-Aug-2018 09:20 Message #4723806
I would have thought that service dogs are well recognised for all sorts of disabilities. Dogs for the Blind and Hearing Dogs we all know about and there are also service dogs for people with PTSD to help their owners to get out of the house. There are also service dogs for amputees who are trained to fetch and bring items and do other tasks where the owner cannot reach. The situation that you describe for your daughter would seem similar to the PTSD dogs. I think that the dogs might be trained and provided by charities, rather than by the government, but maybe disabilities like your daughter's might be included?
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 23-Aug-2018 09:34 Message #4723807
Thank-you Minnie,

Sadly, Holliedog is somewhere between 12 and 15 (according to the vet) and when we looked into what you suggest there is an age limit. Also presently, in the UK, it is very difficult to get through the training and be recognised, whereas in USA it is far too easy and one can just buy a service dog jacket online etc.

No, cannot class this dog officially, so we carefully research where we can include her (when daughter is well enough to get out that way).

As WH is going through her bereavement and loss, it it obvious to many how dogs are part of our family (even though I wouldn't choose to have one right now, nevermind two), but it is so sad that many homeless, or those going into care do have their pets taken from them if going into any form of social support accommodation.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 23-Aug-2018 11:24 Message #4723822
Whats that about me?
Madness102  Female  South Yorkshire 23-Aug-2018 11:44 Message #4723825
I think she is hinting about your loss of Dogglet. Read the OP.

I cried on reading this OP - many dogs seem to have a sixth (or is it seventh?) sense about people with any sort of illness. I am so glad that this one has picked up on her difficulties and is able to help and give comfort. It must be such a blessing and comfort to her.

ME as you say, is extremely difficult to describe and understand, and with varying degrees this makes it harder for people to accept. That is a battle in itself, which is often the case with many many disabilities.
What we need is more awareness of these and all dosabilities.

What is hard, is the fact that there are people out there who 'fake' illness just to bum on benefits and of course, this is yet another struggle when you really are ill. Sad. Very Sad.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 23-Aug-2018 19:07 Message #4723869
Oh I see, I'm a metyfor! Actually I feel ok about Dogglet, I still miss him, but I do process emotions pretty quickly if I'm given the space to feel what I need to feel when I need to feel it, also death isn't the end for me and that makes a huge difference.

Animals never cease to amaze me.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 23-Aug-2018 19:27 Message #4723874
WH, you have me here smiling all on my own.

Your last comment hit a chord as my son was once asked if he would miss me if I wasn't around. He looked at me and said he didn't want to hurt me, but as with autism, compelled to be truthful. He said, he wouldn't miss me, but would miss the things I leave around. Not the body but the consequences of my physical actions and presence...rather than me...oh...hard to explain.
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia 26-Aug-2018 11:37 Message #4724095
"So how do you feel about your tax contributions paying towards a disabled person paying for pet insurance, dog training etc."

I can't see it's any worse than it being spent on fags, alcohol or smart TV's.
To me, it's all about priorities - there are lots of things I'd like to buy or be able to do, but I have a certain amount of income and my rent, food, gas etc have to take priority. If there is money left over after that lot then I can treat myself. That's the way life is (should be) whether you work or not...
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 26-Aug-2018 14:08 Message #4724125
I agree Hierophant, though in this case my daughter (and my son) don't have those obligations as they both live with me. My daughter used to have, but then frequently got herself in financial messes because when well, she would believe she had recovered and take on things she could later not live up to.

The difference I see though, are that the dogs enhance her mental health and have provided a sanctuary for two previously abused dogs and put the to good use, given them a job, whereas it could be argued, smoking and alcohol could diminish mental health and make physical health worse. That could lead to another discussion on strains on the NHS for the future and whether welfare of animals should be a human compassion issue and responsibility.

I'd class a smart TV these days as essential because we have lost our communities and we don't have the neighbour walking in for a cuppa, or even close family that often. People now immerse themselves in soap operas etc. My mother used to live from Coronation St, to Emmerdale Farm, to Brookside when she was no longer able to walk.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 26-Aug-2018 18:24 Message #4724167
I think theres a difference with assistance animals to other pets, although I think all pets help our mental and physical health, although I'm a bit dubious about tax breaks for them I can see that it would help as would a benefit supplement fo them, but its something that could very easily be abused. I think it would be good if maybe a GP's surgery linked up with a local animal sanctuary for dog walking or something, it would be social, useful and good for everyone involved. Gardens and gardening help people in the same way, I think its as much about creating a holistic way of thinking about life rather than creating discrete pockets that benefit those in the know and who are elegable to access them.
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia 26-Aug-2018 18:46 Message #4724170
.." but then frequently got herself in financial messes because when well, she would believe she had recovered and take on things she could later not live up to."

That sentence tells you all you need to know...

JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 27-Aug-2018 10:39 Message #4724246

You judge everything you need to know on one sentence?

You obviously judge very, very superficially.

That's all I need to know.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 27-Aug-2018 10:40 Message #4724247
Yes it tells you that M.E is a long term recurring health condition thats very poorly understood, people often have days or even weeks where they seem to be better only to relapse to a state worse than they were previously. When having a period of remission people often go at life like a bull at a gate wanting to make up for lost time, so they may do something like join a gym on one of those shonky contracts so beloved of such organisations, in the hope of regaining some fitness and muscle tone, only to relapse and find they're stuck with a contract they can't get out of.
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia 27-Aug-2018 10:49 Message #4724249
I'm judging the situation on what you have written - my point is, what will you do when she can no longer care for the dogs?...
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 27-Aug-2018 21:19 Message #4724325

That is exactly what happened and exactly what she did. She committed to Bannatynes in Manchester and never actually went once.

She also bought lots of shoes to try to keep up with her teenage friends, but never got to wear any of them.

I had to ring her bank and tell the manager she had no chance of paying back their £5000 loan they pushed on her (a few years ago). They said it was none of my business, so I said they needed not discuss a thing with me, but I was free to tell them my daughter's situation. They called her back in and she was furious with me.

She would invite "friends" (to keep friends) for tea, but full sets of cutlery and crockery to entertain them, best steak etc, then she would be too ill to keep the arrangement.

She ran up her credit card (at 39% apr) paying for food delivered from the local Indian Restaurant or Italian Pizza place because she was stuck in bed, 350 miles away from home and too ill to cook. (Thankfully, this is when Falmouth University disability services picked her up).

Once, she thought she could go to Uni and got in at Liverpool. She was so ill she only made it to two lessons. My ex and I travelled to get security to break in because we thought she was dead in her room.

Just a few examples above.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 27-Aug-2018 21:39 Message #4724327

It happens every week, but she made these decisions when she feels well. As WH stated, people with ME are often previously highly motivated can-do kind of people and so try to pack as much normality they can in short periods of looking and feeling well. This is when disability services think they are swinging the lead, fiddling the system.

I like dogs but didn't want more dogs, but daughter needed me and she moved back home. That's the title of the thread, the dogs are my grand daughter dogs and I guess that carer is me.

I'm lucky that I have an understanding partner who often suggests we take the dogs out. They are mostly well-behaved, they have been to dog training, they understand a lot of English and we have to spell certain words.

When daughter was in Falmouth and just had Holliedog, she bought a membership of BorrowMYDoggie,com and it was amazing. Daughter had a Facebook queue of people wanting to dog share. Hollidog got an "auntie" called Emily who would just let herself in my daughter's room and take the dog for a break, but that particular dog just couldn't wait to get back to my daughter and lie next to her.

Separate to the illness ME, I think the problems with mental health today have a lot to do with personal debt. Even the energy companies are getting away with ripping off the people who can least afford it with coin meters. They pay a much higher rate than those of us on normal meters, or they freeze, or cannot cook anything hot.

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