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Assistance dog?

Hi all Does anyone have an assistance dog? What does it help you with? How long did you wait? How much did it cost? I’m a wheelchair user and about to start in a new office. It’s got automatic doors but some steep ramps. Can a dog pull you up? I was told that the previous wheelchair user had a motorised wheelchair but the dog pulled doors open for her. Please share your experiences! Thanks Jen xx

An assistance dog where a friend works helps his human, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, by pulling open (and shut) the disabled loo door for her, using a pom-pom on a string, attached to the door handle for the purpose. But the assistance dog is using dexterity, not brute strength. He’s just a dog, not a mule! I’m afraid it sounds like an electric wheelchair job.

Congratulations on the new job and good luck with it.

Alison

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Hi Jen, I’ve applied for an assistance dog from a charity called Dogs For Good, and I’m waiting to hear whether or not my application was successful. If it is, I will have to wait at least two years before a suitable canine’ partner can be found for me, so its a long application process, and quite a pernickety one, because the dogs cost a lot of money and the charity wants to know that its going to a good home where it will be well cared for both when it is and isn’t working. You wont have to pay for the dog as such, but you will have to pay its expenses - food/insurance/vet bills (vaccinations checkups and emergencies) bedding, feeding bowls, toys and so forth. The charity can help with these expenses a little bit, though.

To start the application process, you have to attend a’study day’ held in your area; these are a bit like a lottery, unfortunately, because so many people want a dog to help them, but keep an eye out on both the Dogs for Good website and on the Canine Partners website to see when there are places available. Attendance is mandatory, unfortunately, and its only after this that you can proceed with your application, for which you will need supporting evidence from your doctor and the names of at least two people willing to care for the dog in an emergency. You also have to provide evidence of areas where the dog will be exercised ( at least twice a day)and how safe your back garden is, as well as filling in a form about your daily routine, and how you think you would benefit from a dog. Once you submit your application, a panel will review it and send out a team with one of their dogs to see how you would work together, and how a dog would benefit you. They then go back to the panel to make a decision as to whether or not to give you a dog. Because I am changing my wheelchair, they are coming out to review my circumstances when the new chair arrives before they make a decision,so now its a waiting game. It sounds like a terrible process, but please please don’t be put off from applying. I had the chance to work with a wonderful black labrador called Norbert. He was able to open and close doors, pick up dropped objects from the floor, help me take my coat shoes and socks off, turn light switches on and off, fill and empty the washing machine,post letters and operate a pedestrian crossing patrol-he wouldn’t let me cross the road until he knew it was safe, so they are incredible dogs!!

I don’t think that they are able to physically pull both you and your wheelchair up a ramp, but Norbert walked happily alongside my old powerchair, as they do for conventional wheelchair users, and seemed fazed by very little.

As I say don’t be put off applying, but be prepared to be patient;its a long process because supply outweighs the huge demand.

Good luck in your new job!!

AV/Nia.

I also thought about taking an assistance dog but I was lucky that my mother said she would help me and take care of the dog while I was at work or I would have other things. She told me that often while taking care of him, she read on bulldog expert about various new ideas and articles about bulldogs and implemented new changes. I started reading there too and I really enjoyed learning so many new things. I am sure that if you have a dog this site full of information will help you enormously.