Assistance dogs?: I'm wondering if anyone out there has... - NRAS

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Assistance dogs?


I'm wondering if anyone out there has a dog (assistance or otherwise) and if so, how you cope with bad days. I'm dithering over sending in my final application for a vision-guide dog because I'm not sure how I'll manage, and I'm sure the school will ask me how I expect to meet the dog's needs even when I'm in rough shape. Does anyone have any ideas? I do have a yard, and it's sort of fenced, but it's not really possible to just leave a guide dog to his or her own devices. My guys have said they're willing to help, but for at very least the first year I'll need to be the one who meets the dog's needs (toileting and exercise and grooming). Any thoughts would be appreciated.

7 Replies

I hear your concern and sympathise. I've known several guide dogs and at least two full assistant dogs. They are remarkable and have transformed the lives of their keepers. They, the keepers/guardians/disabled or blind people were all apprehensive, but they now wonder how they could have coped without their canine companions. It is reasonable for the school to ask you those questions you mention, but their aim is to make a partnership work, not to put obstacles in your way. Of course, they have to think of the dog's welfare (they invest such a lot of time and money in training him/her), but as long as you are completely honest with them, I don't see that you have anything to lose by taking it to the next step. That doesn't commit you, does it? Or them. They are not going to force the dog on you, or let you have one if you are not ready, or can't cope, but they may be able to allay your fears. I know you are in Canada, and I don't know how it works over there, but if in the UK, I would be saying 'remember you are not fighting the Government here; you are dealing with an organisation that is very much on your side!'

Is there someone you could speak to on the phone, before formalising your application?

I don't know if that's any help at all.

Good Movening



in reply to Jora

Good Afternight, Jo :)

Part of why I'm so apprehensive is that I've been turned down once because my seizures weren't adequately controlled. I haven't had a seizure since August now, but I'm afraid to get my hopes up, truth told. I think I'll just send the thing off and see where it goes. If this school turns me down, there are others I can try. As you say, I don't really have anything to lose by making the attempt, and oh so much to potentially gain.



in reply to Azabat

My knowledge of how it works "over there" is even less than it is in the UK, so I'm not much help. I can well understand your fear (of being turned down again). Was that for 'just' a guide dog? I know that in the UK, assistance dogs are sometimes trained to act in the case of a seizure. We have GuideDogs for the Blind (a very reputable charity), but for full assistance (which may or may not include blindness), there are other charities as well as which is an umbrella organisation.

All the very best with this. Best paw forward!

Jo xx

Me again ...

Another thought … do you have an equivalent to our AssistanceDogs (link sent in my last reply)? If so, might it be worth speaking to them, off the record if possible, to find out which might be the organisation best suited to your particular needs, so that you can avoid another dispiriting rejection. Ah, you've probably already done that. I might be several hours ahead of you, but in another sense, probably months behind!

Supper coming up; well, actually, going down, thankfully!




I have met someone who has a dog which alerted her to her daughter's seizures before they went too far - it must have picked up on something well before the seizure even properly started she felt because of the barking even when she was in the room and could see that her daughter was okay. The dog came and tugged her trouser leg five minutes later.

Also both of my profoundly deaf sisters have deaf friends with guide dogs - they can't take dogs on themselves because they both work full time but the older of the two is thinking about booking one for her retirement already (she's only 51!). This is just for one disability though.

Just before my RA started I traveled south with a woman with some a condition that had her wheelchair bound for a while. I really don't know what was wrong and of course I wouldn't have dreamed of asking - but she had a guide dog beside us on the plane. She made it clear that this was nothing to do with her eyesight and she certainly seemed to adore her dog. Her son is severely autistic and I see the three of them together looking very happy quite often now so I know guide dogs can be trained for many purposes other than blindness.

I really hope this works out for you Bat - I can see that with multiple issues it could be problematic for both you and the dog but I don't think your RA of itself should stop you as you may well have it better controlled with drugs this time next year. I agree with Jo about just being entirely honest and fingers crossed they may be able to train a dog to meet your needs. Txx

Sorry it's going to be a short reply, in a hurry. I know of someone via another forum that's got an assistance dog. She started a blog, but for some reason hasn't updated it for a while, still plenty to read. I haven't read it all so I am not sure if it will help.


Paula x


Paula have a look at support dogs in Sheffield UK. They have a good website. They train dogs with their potential owners. Disabilty seizure alert and Autistic children, not sure yet if they are doing the training for diabetics to detect hypos.

I have two Westies and trained the youngest who is 3 to take my socks off. This came about when I was having problem's with my hip and back.

Got my first dog at the start of the arthritis it was hard at first doing the walkies but I honestly beleive I am fitter now than had I never had a dog. Yes some days are hard and they do not go as far. They seem to know and Daddy takes them. I get them to jump up on a chair for leads on and lots of other adaptions.

I went to dog traing with Val who set up support dogs many years ago. I was told it gave her the idea. She use to help me with managing training in class.

I also started to train the boy to take clothes out of the washing machine but he had a thing about under wear :).

I beleive owning a dog has many benefits physically and mentally. It should not bebtaken lightly though and you need a back up plan. Also the right breed.

Good luck !

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