big stars

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60th!

The family decided to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday in a big way: surviving 60 years on earth is a milestone to the Chinese. So, away we trundled, pouring into a super-starred resort.

I have observed on many an occasion, that swanky establishments seldom actually take into consideration persons with disabilities, and this was to be an interested and mixed experience for one and all. At over a thousand dollars per night, our two-night booking didn’t exactly come cheap. Continue reading

familiar

Finding comfort in familiarity. One of my two favourite spots in Paddo, the Arthouse Kitchen. This time, though, Lucy is not with me. I miss her terribly. That space she occupies – physical, mental, sensorial – is now a softly whirring void. I gravitate towards our usual table at the far corner. It is a cosy place, just right for one, and a comfortable area on the floor for Lucy on her fluffy rug. Continue reading

pockets of clemency

Sunday brunch with Rick at “dog cafe”. A pocket of clement space. Empathic resonance. Deep laughter. Ranting at cosmic tragi-comedy. Summoning Artaud and Wagner. Light in darkness. Cosy cocoon inside Paddington.

Good to be back. But… I miss Lucy. Especially here, in our beloved Paddo.

infrared

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Lucy in Infrared.

My love. In infrared.

Being away from her is never easy. We’ve had a tumultuous 2016. Since moving to home country, Lucy and I have enjoyed a sense of stability we did not have before, that of being within a family. It is a small family, just my baby sister, her hubby, their two furry boys Bizcuit and Tiny, and our mother. Now, there’s Lucy and me.

I no longer need to panic and worry about who will care for Lucy when I need to make trips away, or when I am unwell and cannot attend to her personally. Continue reading

desolate

I went there today. It was one of our favourite places, Lucy’s and mine. I sat at our regular spot. Smiling faces and hearty greetings from everyone. It was good to be back. The humans, the smells, the sounds, the colours and images, the textures, they are comforting in their familiarity. Yet, there was a void, a resonating desolation. There, in that space, that little nooky corner by my feet, Lucy was not. Instead, a walking cane, to help my unsteady hobbling, ungainly swelling of ankle and metatarsal joints. Bunny keeps on keeping on, while Lucy awaits patiently in her new faraway abode. Here, back in our former home, our old neighbourhood, the emptiness reverberates gentle memories of our adventures. Bunny and Lucy.

flying wheelbarrow

Noshment. Food. Eats. Chronicles in multi sensorial paintings reflecting the intrepid travels of the Bunny.

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Fried vermicelli. Soya sauce. Grease. A few sprinkles of spring onion and crispy garlic. Nothing more. Probably the worst dinner I’ve ever had at the Singapore Changi Airport. Necessity prodded the weary of body, with painful and inflamed metatarsals, hobbling like a stubbed-web penguin across the buzzing landscape of the airport. Terminal 1 is the oldest terminal, and I could see there were ongoing upgrading works everywhere. In true Singapore-glitzy manner, even the boards blocking off the renovations were painted over with murals and slogans in a somewhat supercilious-yet-clumsy way. Welcome to Singapore. Or goodbye, safe travels! In my case, Bunny needed to make this all-important working trip back to Sydney, come rain, hail, shine or arthritic inflammation. Continue reading

panacea

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sweet balm…

Sensory overload. What is it really like? Difficult to pin down, common to most autistics, yet different in each individual and varying from one circumstance to another. No, it’s not just “all in the imagination” and no, we are not deliberately playing some dramatic role for whatever purported attention-seeking accusation.

Right. So, here. Today’s episode.

Heat. Humidity. Crowds. Smells. Noise. Lights. Over-exposure.

11.45am – 1pm. Just a wee bit over an hour.

Nausea. Vertigo. Uhoh… think I am going to throw up – search frantically for a plastic bag. OK, this is going to be awkward, standing at the bus stop. Should I give up and go sit down somewhere? Bus is arriving in 2 minutes. Determination and stubborn grit – just get home, Bunny!

I did it!

Safe, tucked into bed with my panacea for all woes – Canine Angel and warm vanilla hound.

Ah, so lucky to have my Lucy Like-a-Charm!

Clemency.

Lucy’s Grand Adventure

This piece, about our adventure across the skies, traveling home to Singapore from Sydney, was first published in the Greyhound Equality Society website. I am republishing it here with some minor edits (mainly typos and grammatical errors).

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Lucy’s Grand Adventure.

– Dawn-joy Leong.

Lucy Like-a-Charm has graced my life for four years now. Lucy is my assistance dog. An assistance dog is one that performs specific tasks to address a disability. For me, Lucy primarily helps to mitigate the effects of autistic hypersensory anxiety, by warning me in advance about potential triggers, thus preventing serious sensory overload and meltdown. As an assistance dog, Lucy has connected me to the wonderful mindDog Australia family. As a rescued former racing Greyhound, we are part of the Greyhound Equality Society, advocating for Greyhound welfare. Yet, Lucy is much more than all these, she is also my research assistant, advisor and creative muse, inspiring unique trajectories to explore and ponder, and my Canine Angel, a beautiful reminder of the preciousness of parallel embodiment. Continue reading