Press Release – Mobilitydogs.co.nz
Acknowledging that the needs of an individual are as diverse as disabilities themselves, the Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust announces an exciting development in its service dog training and placement programme as well as a great new look for 2012.Mobility Dogs Unleashing Expanded Service & New Look for 2012
Auckland, 17 January 2012 – Acknowledging that the needs of an individual are as diverse as disabilities themselves, the Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust announces an exciting development in its service dog training and placement programme as well as a great new look for 2012.
Since the Trust’s incorporation in 2003 the focus has been exclusively on training service dogs with full public access rights. Recognising that for those New Zealanders who live with a long-term physical disability, the opportunity to participate in their community and enhance their lives through increased independence and self-esteem is at the very core of the work of the Trust.
In line with assistance dog organizations internationally, the New Zealand Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust now provides three categories of mobility dogs;
A Service Dog will continue to provide support both in the home environment and out in the community with full public access rights. An Assist Dog will provide support at home, and public access will be managed by a facilitator. A Skilled Companion Dog will provide the support of a highly skilled pet and will mitigate at least three aspects of disability. Tasks all the dogs are trained to do include fetching the phone, opening and closing doors and retrieving dropped items. These tasks sit alongside the companionship, greater sense of security and feeling of connectedness to the community that a dog offers.
In addition to dogs trained for individual placement, Mobility Dogs also has a Facility Dog trained to assist a therapist working with a client in a rehabilitative setting and four Ambassadogs – Chance, Hugo, Elsa and Fleur – who work tirelessly on behalf of their canine and human clients to raise awareness of the invaluable work of Mobility Dogs/
Currently there are 35 Mobility Dogs working in the community with a further 20 dogs actively engaged in the Trust’s canine development programme at varying stages. These highly skilled canine companions provide everyday tasks that the majority of New Zealanders take for granted. Skills include fetching the phone, opening and closing doors, removing socks and shoes, picking up dropped items and activating pedestrian crossings as well as providing security and safety.
These valued assistance dogs will also take to the streets, work places, educational institutions and recreational areas of New Zealand in 2012 with a distinctive new look in their smart black jackets.
Training a mobility dog can take up to two years. The puppy-raising programme is assisted by a partnership with The Department of Corrections, ‘Puppies in Prison’, whereby prisoners are charged with the full time care and training of a puppy to become a fully trained mobility dog. There are currently eight puppy placements being trained in prison.
Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust is a registered charity that does not receive central or local government funding but gratefully acknowledges and recognizes the support of community trusts, organisations, business houses and individuals.
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