Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It takes a village

Last Friday was the National Assistance Dogs Australia Day. Puppies and volunteers were out in force all around Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. There were also booths in Tasmania and South Australia! Hopefully we were able to raise more awareness about Assistance Dogs. I hope that a lot more people learned about Assistance Dogs because it really takes the whole community to support us in order for our continued success. It is not just financially that we need support. We need the community to be able to accept our place in public. All of us puppies hope to be able to help someone with mobility impairments in their home AND out in the rest of the world. "Assistance Dogs are currently making a dramatic difference in the quality of life for individuals with physical disabilities. Not only do they assist them physically, but also these special dogs relieve loneliness and social isolation, helping their owners integrate more with their local communities. This increase in independence allows them to get on with their lives, often attending college, getting employment or just mixing more." Even as puppies we need to practice good behaviour in public so that when we become a working dog, we are habituated to public places. This is difficult without the support of everyone in the community.

Over the weekend we dealt with some people who have chosen not to support us. Cafe Treahorne in Katoomba does not allow me or even a fully certified, working service dog into their restaurant. If a blind person or a disabled person wants to eat at their restaurant with their service dog, they are required to eat out in the cold, at the outside tables.

It reminded me to feel thankful about the wonderful support I have received here in the Inner West where I live, as well as in all of the other parts of Sydney where I have visited. My family and I have also received a lot of support from most of our friends. Thank you!!

We stayed in Wentworth Falls for the weekend. A big thanks to The Parkhouse at Yester Grange for welcoming me in the accomodation. It was rainy for a lot of the weekend so I got quite muddy when I was out playing in the yard. It was super fun!!!

4 comments:

Quinta said...

humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights

Section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act ("the DDA") defines unlawful discrimination as including treating a person with a disability less favourably because he or she is accompanied by a guide dog, hearing assistance dog or any other animal "trained to assist the aggrieved person to alleviate the effect of the disability".
The reference to other assistance animals was included in the legislation to recognise the fact that people with a range of disabilities other than vision and hearing impairments may derive valuable assistance from appropriately trained dogs.

Quinta said...

environment.nsw.gov.au/PDFs/policy_pets.pdf

Service Dogs are also allowed in Australian National Parks.

Runza said...

WOW Quinta, you are growing up so fast! I'm so sorry to hear about the accessibility problems you are encountering. I know it can be horribly frustrating and discouraging to encounter such resistance based mostly on ignorance. I hope those people learn from their mistakes and are able to make it right in the future. I agree it does take community support to raise a well-socialized and acclimated assistance dog. Good luck to your school and everyone in Australia as they work to educate about what great work you are being trained to do! Keep your head held high! You're doing the right thing!

Runza said...

Happy Birthday QUINTA!