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September 19, 2014     Post-Gazette
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September 19, 2014
 

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POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 Page 7 im le by •Girard A, Plante Not just another historic moment arrived to the great city of Boston on Thursday, Sept. 4th. The day proved liber- ating for citizens with•disabilities who celebrated the be- ginning of barrier-free street corners in Beacon Hill's sprawling neighborhood. The gathering occurred on a sun-splashed afternoon-at the corner of Beacon Street and Charles Street. The mo- ment may have seemed inconsequential to the usual traf- fic of neighbors, college students, tourists, delivery crews, taxis, curious onlookers, State House employees going to work or lunch, and other folks:getting about. But to the 40 attendees who eagerly arrived atop wheel- chairs, service dogs leading their blind partners, and oth- ers walking gingerly alongside our able-bodied counterparts the day became a culmination of decades of unwavering activism to construct 6urb cuts at street comers to ensure safe, easy access thr0t/ghout the streets Of Beacon Hill. In 2010, my.90-year-old neighbor and I visited the Afri- can American Meeting House. He cautiously walked along- side my power ,chair as I strolled up steep Joy Street, .which .cuts thr0ugh.the, heart, of Be.acon Hill. Wenever antici- pated heaving brick sidewalks that impeded our ascension to the histor.ic site, so. we continued on in the street. De- spite Our sl0w trek,' we would not be deterred in our quest to view' the place where slaves, free blacks, and abolition- ists met to end degradation of another kind during the Civil War. Back:to thislyear's hot September afternoon event: after speeches, by longtime disability rights activists, acknowledgement of Boston,s Inspectional Services direc- tor, the presence of the MBTA'S chief administrator, the group of 40 then processed up Beacon Street to the comer of Walnut Street, where a Boston DPW crew strained under a scorching sun .constructing the; first, curb cut- in Beacon Hill. The crewwas handed, a cake as a symbolic gesture of gratitude by an. activist who works for the Bos-ton Centel: for Independent- Living. The entire event included both broadcast media and reporters from. local newspapers. Balloons inscribed "Thank you May.or Marly Walsh," wafted in the air throughout the grand occasion. Several other people spontaneously joined the group as ~they,applauded ,the earnest efforts to bring inclusion to persons with disabilities who desire nothing more.th, an to move about Boston 'free from barriers.. You see, a: group of 'entitled' residents of Beacon Hill sued Mayor Walsh and citizens with disabilities. Mayor Walsh was not intimidated.as witnessed by his direct.ire to con- struct the curb cuts and. eagerly .await meeting the neigh, bors in court: Their primary argument is the archaic notion that some- how yellow-striped tactile surfaces included in any curb cut for visually,impalred people to see Safely cross the street detracts from the "historic" significance of Beacon Hill. Perhaps the small•group of neighbors fail to see their eld- erly neighbors move about holding canes, leaning on walk- ers, using wheelchairs and waiting outside their residences for public transportation that includes lifts for wkeelchairs. No matte.r. The federal decreeof the Americans with Disabilities Act is .unambiguous: any public project that expends payer - dollars must be used to construct access to people with dis- abilities. Yet the neighbors suing still toss a~ide the ADA as well as State regulations governing accessibility. It is an incredulous situation that must, be ended.. .The peculiar mix of the. 'entitled' who donut view. people with disabilities as. having possibilities are stuck in the 19m century when the Brahmins of Boston - indeed allof New England.- held strong, to- a sordid rhindset that bel- lowed:. ' rhe Lowells speak only to. the Astors, and the Astors speak, only to God.." Well,. it,is the 21st century. And that sordid, worn-out be- lief system no longer is a force that drives Boston, nor aU of New England. Voices of reason hold sway in this era of in- clusion of citizens with disabilities long oppressed by a mean-spirited, indifferent system. For 150 years in America, people with disabilities got tossed into State-run asylums festering amidst dreadful conditions suited for • animals. The dawn of the 1970s witnessed insane asylums and oppressive institutions being shuttered across America. Stories revealed the plight of human beings mistreated-and dealt with by government officials as a subclass. Former patients were liberated and quickly joined forces with local, state, and federal governmental leaders to bring awareness to their cause to live as their able-bodied counterparts in society.. As the popular 1960s song shaped a generation's views of their federal government run amok, it is instructive to note that well into the 21st century the Bob Dylan hit tune ,"Times they are a changin'."still resonates in this refreshing era whereby the .rightful inclusion of people of all walks of life is ever-increasing. Due to his increasing popularity and several suggestions'from readers (and after much negotiating on our part with his huge salary demands), our friend Freeway has consanted to try to answer readers' questions concerning, him or any of our little four-legged friends. You can email your questions to postgazette@aol,com to the attention of Freeway. Don't forget folks, Freeway is not a vet, so please keep the questions light-hearted! Thanks. Why are pets placed with resct~e organi- zations? Animal rescue organizations are made up of concerned breeders and other citizens who work to find homes for the par- ticular species of animal in which they have an interest. In the case of dogs and cats, may rescue organizations will also place animals of mixed breeds. There are rescue organizations for dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, ferrets, birds and other species of animals; The pets that come to rescue organizations do so because they can no longer •live in their current homes. In the vast majority of cases, their need for a new home is no fault of •their own. Typically it's their owners: I: They are moving and' cannot take their pet :with them 2.• Have health pr6blems 3: Have become incapacitated or died 4. Do not have tithe for the pet because, of changes in their lifestyle, e.g. new baby, ill. family member .5. Have other pets that do notget .along with this one 6. Realize they sh0uldnever have gotten a pet 7. In the case of Greyhounds, are retiring them from racing• Some pets were rescued from an abusive situation by rescue organizations. What happens when a pet is placed with a reseue organization? When an animal is placed with a rescue organization, a mem- ber of the organization wil~ first evaluate the animal to determine if he/she will make a good pet for someone else. If the animal has a history of .biting, aggression, or other se- vere behavior problems, the animal WIK not be placed..The behavior.of some .pets may. make it necessakry to. restrict the type of: home in which they can be placed,.e.g, a home with n° pets, - All pets are examined by a veterinarian and. certain laboratory work will be per- formed depending upon the species; For in+ stance, dogs are heartworm tested, and cats are tested for Feline Leukemia. Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Almost all dogs and cats will .be spayed or neutered be- fore being placed. What does the adoption process entail? Be prepared to answer a 16r g questionnaire re- garding your family, lifestyle, living arrange- ments, schedule, etc. You will often need to provide references. The rescue organiza= tions may request to talk to your landlord. Some rescue organizations will schedule a home visit so they. can see first-hand the•` eavironnient the pet will be in. Most res- cue organizations will not place a pet in ,the- home of undergraduate stu- dents, or anyone else with- out a permanent address. In additioii to determining if you will be a good. placement• in general; your answers to• the questionnaire will also help the rescue organization make-the best match be- tween you and the animals wh.o are available. For in- stance, if you want a cuddly pet, they will try t(y match you to one who loves atten- tion rather than one who is very independent. Rescue organizations are very careful when placing a pet. The animal has already lost one home and they want this placement to be perma- nent, and good one. Be thankful they are as thor- ough as they are. In most all cases, you will need to pay an adoption fee for your pet. This will usu- ally be more than the fee you would pay at an animal shelter, but less than the cost of a pet purchased from a breeder. This fee will reimburse the res- cue organization of the customary veteri- nary services, pet food, cost of phone calls, and travels, etc. This is a general fee and may not reflect the actual cost incurred by the organization for taking care of your new pet. In many-cases, the actual' costs exceed the fee. Breed rescue organizations are "nonprofit" in the strictest sense of the word. Depending upon the breed, you may be able to obtain your new-pet in a few days. In other instances, you may need to wait a long time. Keep in. regular "con.tact. with the represen-, tative from, the organization so you will know if' the time .for you to adopt is getting closer. In the meantime, learn What you can about. the breed, health care, nutrition, obedience, training etc. so you are prepared when your new pet does arrive. If you do not have one, find a veterinarian who you will enjoy work- ing with for. the life of your new pet. Remem- ber,- anything good is worth Wa ting for! You may not be- able. to take your. potential adoptee home the. first, time-you meet. De: pending Upon the organization, the pet, arid how you. get along at your first .meeting, the pet may need to stay in the foster home a little longer. In most cases~ you will rmt get registra= tion papers for your new pet; even if. it is. registered purebred. Dogs and cats may ob- tain special papers, however, to allow them to participate in. agility. and obedience e.vents and in certain cat shows..respec- ti~/ely. Rescue.organizations Provide and invalu= able service to the pets they .place and to the people who receive them. By "Obtaining a pet through a rescue organization,-you will give new life toa homeless ani-rtal and. have confidence the pet is .healthy and has a good personality. Before I forget everydne is already .asking if we- are going- to do our Thanksgiving Pet Food Drive. Of course ,Freeway is excited to make this his 4rePet Food Drive and we will take dog and cat food, treats; blankets, toys whatever you can. donate and you can-drop it .off at the lPost-Gazette Monday- through Friday from 9:00 amto 5"00 pm, Kreeway would like to get a head start on this so it wilt be a-bigger and better year for.-all the pets. Your generosity can go a. long way in supporting the needs of these deserving animals! We will have a.poster-on the win- dow of the Post-Gazette in case you missed this notice about-our Pet Food Drive. That's all for- now/- RISTORAN•TE &BAR Traditional Italian Cuisine, 415 Hanover Street, Boston 617.367.2353 11 Mount Vernon Street, Winchester 781.729.0515 P ivot f..dio. Occosie.. Ch,,isl ni.g • • BoI , B+,,lhJo,.j .. B, Peavem+nt, l=k. " Donato Frattaroli donato@luciaboston.com- www.luciar.istorante.com •