When the general public consider assistance dogs in the UK specifically, most people immediately ask if one of my assistance dogs are from an organisation such as Guide Dogs.
There is still a lack of understanding of owner trained assistance dogs and how people can get an assistance dog in the UK.
People are naturally curious and I personally don't take offence to this. I'm happy to answer the general public's questions when they ask.
They ask how they are trained, how long it takes, what kind of things the dogs assist with, how this is trained, the age of the dog's and of course compliment them.
I personally don't mind answering questions because only through education can we educate the general public of what owner trained assistance dogs are. Many of the people who we encounter, even if they aren't in their place of employment most likely are within a place of employment and this place of employment could be a public setting.
When we give them information they will pass on this information to their colleagues and managers, this is only going to make our lives easier and combat access issues.
During the summer it can be hard to take an assistance dog out because of the heat and absolutely not with a vest which could trap heat, so more teams tend to experience access problems due to the general public not knowing assistance dog's don't require a vest or any identification by law.
Assistance dogs are still assistance dogs on their days off, just as we remain professionals or whatever job title we have, when we have a day off.
Assistance dogs work tirelessly to support their handlers and are just as valid on their days off or if they are unable or not required to do public access.
Here are two brief videos to demonstrate how Koda supports me and I her.
If you would like to learn more about assistance, service dogs or even therapy animals check out Pets and their people for up to date blogs and information!
Image description: A pink background with black paws. A torn piece of paper with flag bunting along the top in black text reads: "An assistance dog is still an assistance dog when off duty. Assistance dog's work really hard, ranging from aiding with household tasks, dressing, medical appointments, shopping, day trips, medical alerts, retrieving items and so much more... Just like a human they too deserve time to rest and just be a dog, just like we work. You don't suddenly stop being a professional at the end of the day or on a day off, the same applies to assistance dog's. Assistance dog's deserve unwavering respect for what they do!"
There is a photo collage to the left of:
A Wolfdog lying on her side with a summer assistance dog vest in pink and yellow on a pink settle mat.
Two photos underneath this with the first photo of the Wolfdog asleep on the sofa and the second photo with the Wolfdog emptying the washing machine.
The next row of photos show the Wolfdog sat next to a black Spaniel, the Wolfdog and black Spaniel on a path, the Wolfdog and black Spaniel sat on either side of the handler.
The next row of photos show the Wolfdog taking laundry from a pink laundry basket, the Wolfdog walking next to a Wheelchair handler in the dark from behind, a group of people with the wheelchair handler and the Wolfdog, the wheelchair handler with one Wolfdog on either side, wearing assistance vests on a path facing the camera, the wheelchair handler and Wolfdog on a wooden path facing the camera.
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