Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My plans and thoughts

So this is my first post, outlining what my goals are for the next couple of years.

I haven't been well for the last 2.5 years or so, and have no real expectation of improving much more from where I am now, and instead quite possibly could get worse. I have an autoimmune condition, for a while it wasn't absolutely sure of diagnosis but of late it has become a sure diagnosis, with no cure unless there is a lot more gene research done! I used to spend quite a bit of time in hospital but now it is only about 6 weeks per year. On top of this I get nasty migraines, currently about 3-4 per month. So that's just to give a short medical background.

About 18 months ago I started getting interested in the idea of an assistance dog, and did a bit of research, but for various reasons, such as being in a no pet rental house, not being sure where the illness was going, not wanting to take dogs away from those who were full time in wheelchairs etc, I didn't pursue it. It wasn't until the last several months I have got a lot more interested in the idea. Even then, I didn't think it was all that possible because of that first reason - I live in housing that specifies 'no pets'.

Several weeks ago I happened to ring up the local government here for information on assistance dogs in the ACT, who put me onto the Human Rights Commission because I wanted to ask them a couple of questions anyway about my legal rights if the landlords said no when I finally did ask for permission for an assistance dog. I had already checked out our Disability Discrimination Act in reference to assistance dogs, so imagine my surprise when I was told by a lovely woman from the Commission that another section of the Act that dealt with Accommodation basically meant that not allowing me to have a dog would imply they were denying me access to something that would alleviate my disability and would amount to discrimination. As soon as they told me that, I knew I had a case and since then I have been beginning to think and plan for a puppy.

Whilst there are many programs here in Australia which offer assistance dogs, there are several reasons that make me not want to go with them:
  • I am not disabled to the extent of many others, such as in a wheelchair 100% of the time, (although I do have a wheelchair I use occasionally) and I don't want to take a dog off someone who is in a situation like that.
  • I know the waiting periods can be long, especially if you are not a 'priority case'.
  • I have experience in training dogs and would enjoy the process of the advanced training required.
  • If my condition deteriorates I would easily be able to train new tasks without having to ship a dog back to the training program for re-training
  • I want to get the extra close bond you get after going through puppyhood together, as I believe that would help us in a working relationship
I have been doing a lot of reading, have joined a few forums... just getting as much information as possible so I make good decisions from now on.

I have started writing a letter and putting together an information pack for my property manager and landlords, so that they make a reasonable decision about letting me have an assistance dog. I mean really they have to let me, if they don't I can officially complain, which I don't want to have to do, but I would push it a bit if it meant I would get a dog to help me out. I want my life to go back to as normal as possible and I see so much possibility there for a dog to help it go in that direction. Just to get back to work, to get some self esteem back, to know I am a functioning person again!

I am going overseas in a little less than two months to get married to my lovely fiance, but after the wedding, and if I have permission from the property owners, I shall be going full steam ahead, mostly likely with a golden retriever pup.

Wish me luck on this journey, which I shall hopefully journal the ups and downs right here.

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