Name: Katie Shelley
Years lived in Toledo: I’ve lived in the Toledo area for 18 years.
Occupation: Disability Rights Advocate
My story, in one sentence: A woman with Cerebral Palsy working to make the future accessible for everyone.
Most people know me for: When I worked as an intern for The Ability Center in Summer 2017, I was asked to be in a PSA for the Toledo YWCA’s Rape Crisis Prevention Center. I was surprised how many people recognized me from it, even if I was only in it for five seconds!
I wish more people knew me for: Being an advocate for the equal rights of people with disabilities.
The best thing I’ve ever eaten in Toledo was: A donut with chocolate frosting and sprinkles from Holey Toledough Donuts.
The best place to visit in Toledo: The Toledo Museum of Art—and I thought that even before I worked there, I always loved to visit TMA. It has an amazing collection for a city of Toledo’s size, and the Cloister is by far my favorite gallery.
The reason I am most proud of myself right now: I am really proud that I’m working at The Ability Center and doing my small part to make the world a more accessible and inclusive place for people with disabilities.
If I could change one thing about Toledo: Better public transportation. TARTA is fine, but, in my personal opinion, public transportation in Toledo could still be so much better. I think we’re slowly getting there, but not everybody in the Toledo area drives and thus the Toledo area needs a better, more efficient, way of getting those who don’t drive out in the community, where they want to go, whenever they want to go, without having to plan their schedule around bus routes. I think there’s a general negative stigma in the community around the use of public transportation, and I think people should realize that it is beneficial for many, not just for a few.
If I could apologize to anyone: My younger self, for not believing in her more.
Hunter or gatherer: Gatherer.
Years lived in Toledo: Three
Occupation: Assistance Dog
My story, in one sentence: The best assistance dog named Petunia anywhere around.
One song lyric to describe my ideal self: “Hold your head up, you silly girl / Look what you’ve done / When you find yourself in the thick of it / Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you / Silly girl” – “Martha My Dear,” The Beatles.
Most people know me for: Being an assistance dog to my person, Katie Shelley.
I wish more people knew me for: Being adorable. I’m also very loveable and goofy and would love to be your friend.
The best thing I’ve ever eaten in Toledo was: My dog treats that I get when I perform a task correctly.
The best time I ever had in Toledo: Meeting Katie for the first time!!
The reason I am most proud of myself right now: I am a good dog.
I feel my best when wearing: my working vest, because I know I am helping Katie live a more independent life.
If I could apologize to anyone it would be: The deer that I see outside behind The Ability Center. I’m sorry for barking at you and scaring you.
Hunter or gatherer: Hunter, but I can gather things when asked.