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Moment #1: Service dogs at camp, a tic moment

So when I was at Camp Twitch and Shout, I wrote a list of “camp moments” on my phone so that I would remember stories from camp that I wanted to write out on my blog. I haven’t written out a lot of these moments yet because I’ve been waiting until I felt like I wanted to write them out.

For a while there, writing these moments out would probably have made me cry because I missed camp so much! I still miss camp SO MUCH, but I think now writing out these moments won’t make me cry anymore but will make me remember the amazing times I had at camp. I am just going to write out one on this blog post.

So at camp there were a few service dogs. At counselor training, we were told that there were going to be service dogs that a few of the kids were going to bring to help with their tics/Tourette’s. I am a huge dog lover! We were told at counselor training, though, that we were not allowed to pet or touch the service dogs while they are working. This is completely understandable.

I knew I would have to keep an extra distance from the dogs though since my one and only touching tic seems to be associated with dogs and other animals. I’ve always had this thing about NEEDING to touch dogs noses when I’m petting a dog and just in general needing to touch their fur if they are close to me. So I just knew I would need to keep an extra safe distance from the service dogs at camp, and then I would be fine.

I seemed to be doing a really good job with keeping my distance from them, even though it was hard because I love dogs so much! But the second to last day of camp I was talking with some campers and counselors and one of the girls with a service dog came up and started talking with us, too, and stood right next to me with her dog.

I didn’t want to move away as soon as she came to join the group because that would have probably seemed rude, but as she stood there I felt the tic building up in my arm. It just kept getting stronger and stronger pretty quickly and I knew I was going to have to do something soon about the situation.

In any similar situation like this at home, I would have been forced to take myself out of the group. But I was at Tourette’s camp! Why not explain myself I thought? So I spoke up and told her about my touching tic with dogs. I was planning on just telling her and then backing up from the group myself, but she backed up with her dog first.

As soon as she backed up and brought the dog out of arms reach, I relaxed my arm and let my tics go. So my arm jerked out in front of me about 6 or 7 times and then after my tic was done the girl said to me, “Thanks so much for telling me about that. I really appreciate it!” She was so sweet about it and not mad or offended at all. She was just glad I told her and competently understood. That’s a moment that only happens at Camp Twitch and Shout

A note to anyone reading this from Camp Twitch and Shout: No need to worry about this in the future with service dogs! I am always aware when I reach the point at which I just have to let the tic out and will always be able to either tell the person with the dog or step back from the dog.

So there is no need to worry about putting a camper with a service dog in my cabin in the future if you need to because I will not interrupt the service dog from working! The tic does not happen every time I see a dog or am near a dog and when I do feel it coming I will be able to step back so that I don’t end up touching the dog or interfere in any way with the dog’s job.

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RuthieP

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