The Border Collie Chronicles

Observations from (arguably) the World's Smartest Dogs;
(but, without question, the bestest friends!)
or, Life As We Understand It, as told from dad's shop.

 Posted February 18, 2016


Special … (needs that is!)

By Gall


Special Needs:  Wikipedia defines it as a term that is used in clinical diagnostic and functional development to describe individuals who require assistance for disabilities that may be medical, mental, or psychological.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Diseases, 9th edition both give guidelines for clinical diagnosis.  Types of special needs do vary in severity.


In a more narrow sense, it can also be a legal term applying in foster care, derived from the language in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997.  It is a diagnosis used to classify children that need more services than those children without special needs who are in the foster care system.  It is a diagnosis based on behavior, childhood and family history, and is usually made by a health care professional.


This is how our little Merritt was described on the ABCR website … as having “Special Needs” (maybe it was a Special Treasure ... but for the sake of this article, we're sticking with special needs).


Some folks might also refer to her situation as “Differently Abled”.  The Oxford dictionary says that differently abled was first proposed back in the 1980s as an alternative to disabled, handicapped, etc., in the belief that it gave a more positive message and avoided discrimination toward those folks with disabilities.  However, few folks have really taken to using the term believing that it can seem over euphemistic and condescending, at the same time.  The generally accepted term in use is still disabled. 


However, the Urban Dictionary has another twist that I think fits our understanding a little better:  Contrary to what the words may suggest, “differently abled” does NOT mean “having different abilities”; more precisely it means “lacking expected abilities”.  Since both physical and mental disability is generally associated with social stigmas (and hence is ripe for being described with “sensitive PC” vocabulary), differently abled is most frequently encountered in similar contexts as "special".  With this in mind, persons of non-retarded (and retarded) status should construe the phrase as a deep insult.


Neither of these terms fits my new little sister Merritt – what she is … is, a DOG!  No more, no less!  She can perform any activity that she sets her little ol’ (white) heart on!  Don’t think that she wants you to take any kind of pity on her … she doesn’t expect it, and actually refuses to accept it!  Bubba doesn’t cut her any breaks at all – when dad lets us out in the trap (of course, we all have to wait, after he opens the gate, so we all break out in a pack), and we’re sprinting to rid the entire area of rabbits (or anything else for that matter) Merritt has decided that she ought to run right next to her Bubba (she does have to hold back a little to let him keep up!), and you know what that freakishly huge headed monster dog does?  He pretends like he’s an old timey NASCAR driver and tries to edge her out – I mean bumping and everything – I’ve seen her wipe out a time or two, but I think she’s caught on to his dirty tricks! 


You know what happens right after she wipes out? … Well, she hops (she does a lot of hopping, actually!) right back up (she doesn’t really even slow down) and continues the race!!  I’m thinking that we ALL can take a lesson from this little (formerly) orphaned sister and bupp of ours … don’t let crap that you have little or no control over get you down … there’s nothing that you can do about it anyway – might as well just deal with it the best you can!  We didn’t say that it would necessarily be easy or fun, but it is still yours to deal with … wallowing around in self pity won’t do you any good at all (plus, it can get you all muddy, and then mom-D won't let you in the house afterwards!)!


Differently Abled … Nah, she’s my little sister that has three legs and a HUGE heart!!



REMEMBER:  Can’t, never could!









Some stuff to ponder on this evening …

(If you’re tired of trying to figure out how the heck Denver’s defense stopped Cam!!!!)


All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me ... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

Walt Disney



Adversity is a fact of life.  It can't be controlled.  What we can control is how we react to it.



If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.

Clayton Williams  (Yeah, you knew we had too!  Cost the man a Governorship! … but he still believes it!!!)



Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.



Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.

Stephen Covey














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