I can't begin to imagine the horror that the poor guide dog owner must be going through at this time. Ever since getting my guide dog Samson I'd always said my worst fear was that he'd be attacked by another dog... I have to say I now have two worst fears, that he'd be attacked by another dog or that he'd go missing.
If you follow me on twitter you'll know that my time line has been dominated by the hash tags #findtess, #MissingGuideDog & #TESS. I along with the Guide Dog 'family' have done our best to help find Tess in some small way from where we are. Tess went missing in Nairn, Scotland. I live in London, England. I know that people have been spreading the word from Scotland to Dorset, from Manchester to Cardiff, from New Zealand to the USA. People care, people want Tess the guide dog back in her rightful place, at her guide dog owners side.
This is my take on how this search for Tess reflects what our society, our government & our media really think of disability & what place we (disabled people) have in society today...
The national media has steadfastly refused to cover the story. But they've covered George Osbourne's cat getting clipped by a car. the national media have steadfastly refused to cover this story because the 'human interest' isn't strong enough. but they've covered the 'ice bucket challenge' like there's no tomorrow (no one I know gives a flying fart about the ice bucket challenge by the way!) The likes of 'Good Morning Britain' have said that they don't 'do name checks or birthday greetings'. Okay, that's fine... But a missing guide dog isn't a birthday greeting or a name check. A missing guide dog is actually a blind persons life line, a blind persons independence, a blind persons dignity and so much more. It is also, to put a hardened tint on it a 50grand dog, a mobility aid that takes approx two years to train & works (& plays!) incredibly hard for its whole working life, to belittle a guide dog in this way I think is hugely insulting...!
It's feels like Tess is invisible, unimportant & something to be brushed under the carpet.
Why is this is??!! Ever since the 2012 Paralympics people have told me that Great Britain is more accepting of people with disabilities, that people admire those with disabilities, that access is better for people with disabilities, that people with disabilities have a stronger voice... From my own personal experiences I can tell you that this isn't the case. I've been verbally abused for no other reason than I have a disability. I've been thrown out of shops for no other reason than I have a disability. I've been patronised for no other reason than I have a disability and I'll tell you why, our government has done its utmost to demonise those with disabilities. To screw those with disabilities over. To make people believe that we are the scourge on society. That we are the reason the country is in the dire straits it is in. That anyone that gets Disability Living Allowance is scrounging from the tax payer. That people with disabilities aren't worth the time of day. That our voice or anything we have to say is invalid, insignificant or laughable. That anyone that gets ANY additional financial support due to their disability is living the life of a playboy millionaire... This is what they've set out to make society believe & with the help of the media they've pretty much achieved it.
They've made us invisible, they've made us insignificant & they've made us invalid. So much so that the UN will at some point, after the next general election it seems (to save embarrassment?!?!) be investigating the 'grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights'
I sound bitter I know & that's because I am & I make no apologies for that. I am not a blight on society & I resent the fact that I am portrayed as such just because my sight & hearing are dodgy. I'm now at a point where I've got so angry at the way the media & government portray me & those I know with disabilities that I have to start fighting back & I will.
But onto the more positive side of the #findtess story & there really are some. Pets at Home have proven that massive, faceless corporations can & do have a heart. They have offered a £1000 donation to guide dogs on information leading to finding Tess. They've emailed their 2million VIP members about Tess & what to do if they think they've seen her. And they've been very active on keeping Tess talked about on their social media & in their hundreds of stores around the UK.
People have been talking, tweeting, emailing, facebooking, leafleting, postering about Tess all over the UK. Celebs, police forces, fire brigades, local shops, online shops & ordinary every day people have been sharing information on Tess.
So it shows that society in general is 'good' that in general they don't believe the BS given by the media & government & that they DO care about a missing guide dog and DO believe she's more important than a 'name check or birthday greeting'
There IS still hope that Tess will be found, there has been a credible sighting of her which is being looked into as I write.
Tess isn't invisible, Tess isn't insignificant & Tess isn't invalid.
#findtess, #MissingGuideDog #TESS