Sunday, September 7, 2014

is a pet dog an 'assistive' or a therapy dog/what makes a dog special.

i am writing this after a chance meeting with a volunteer out walking with a 'puppy' in training to be eventually allocated to a sick/disabled/autistic/blind individual as a healing and helpful companion (or deaf).

there are various categories to be considered:

Guide dog for the Blind:  needing very specific training for its job.
Assistive Dog for the Disabled person:  also needing highly sophisticated training
therapy dog:  for the family of a child/adult who is on the autistic spectrum:  how special is that dogs training?
Dog for balance:  How special is its training.
Dog for the deaf:  very essential.

i asked these questions because of the categories above and some research online regarding the training for all the above jobs.

times are hard economically and especially so in Ireland where cut backs have been horrendous across the board for all with disability and sickness.
its also very hard as well for the older adult and the person to get the help they too need regarding declining health, acquired disabilities and other.
ALL have to be considered as suitable candidates for the dog that can bring about care, independence, support and love and bring too a quality of life which otherwise would be non-existent.

I believe now the 'list is closed' for all sick, disabled and balance dogs for all, due to cost.

the cost of training up a dog for the above named categories is circa 47,000e in Ireland.

The dog itself evidently has to be highly bred and as such can bring about a significant amount of health problems for this dog as all highly bred dogs do seem to have.
they also have a shorter life span than most, i believe, especially compared to cross breeds.  A cross bred dog is also a healthier dog, this is known.

the dog in training is cared for by volunteers in the main and then gets the 'boot camp' before its designated a partner in life.
the dog receives only the best food available as opposed to our dogs who get pretty much whats in the supermarket.
i never knew also that these dogs are not insurable as they always have a problem in health therefore no insurance company will take them on as they are high risk.  Is this so?

immediately we have a whopping big scoop of money that is needed.
if we had a cross bred we may be onto a winner regarding these costs.
i know some other countries are using cross breeds and less delicate dogs.

next comes the categories of need.

The Blind and the Disabled individual needs a dog to do very very skilled and specific tasks.
the balance dog and the dog for the children and adults on the autistic spectrum less sophisticated training and routines.

in fact in other countries, these two latter categories are in fact a Family Pet, and a trained pet dog with the adults being more trained with a new family pet dog for these specifics rather than a dog trainer for far too skilled a job which would be more time consuming and delicate.

why cannot then we have various groups.
to alleviate the costs for training and divide both the type of dog and the type of dog into Highly specific to Less specific.

why can we not have a Pet Centre for training up a Balance dog and the whole family input and also the Dog for the Autistic spectrum children and adults.
these two actually are for FAMILY rather than individual.
they are a manageable category.

when i am out and about i see the dog for the autistic spectrum child along with the family.
in almost all cases the adults are in charge of that dog.
i also question the reality of having a child very noticeably labelled straight away as autistic by virtue of a very noticeable dog with the group or with the actual child.  they have enough problems integrating in an increasing stigmatizing society and culture.

I am on the autistic spectrum having Asperger Syndrome.
Long before i was known to have this condition i had spent years in the mental health system which fortunately i am  long out of and with an apology of ever being there!
that aside, i always loved the dog and i am now on two little chihauhaus with tiny legs because i cannot walk far anyway.
it seemingly in my notes, my health notes that i have a pet dog as therapy!
 I do not!
i have a dog that is a pet and thats what my dog is, like everyone else who owns a dog i got it or them for this reason, they are pets to me.
Pets bring about their therapy for all naturally and not medically not only those labelled and its very worrying that indeed once its known someone is a sickie or disabled then their dog is a therapy dog and no longer the Pet!

we are categorizing too quickly and speedily. work and past times once just work and past times for healthy indivduals are now designated  therapy for a sick or disabled person.

Horticulture training for the sick and disabled becomes horticulture therapy.
ditto Horse riding as therapy.
 horse riding has always been a therapy as is gardening and digging the soil. For anyone!
dogs too are therapy for all.
Just because you have the lurgy or are a crip doesn't make any of these a specific therapy for a disabled it means these are the known forms of past times and careers that bring this about automatically because they are noted to help a person holistically.

but i digress on my pet passion, stigma and labeling.
.................back to the dogs.
we have a closed list for all now regarding dogs for the disabled and deaf and and blind yes, ah ha, i am profoundly/severely deafened, profound in one ear and deaf in the other.
i could have a Dog for the Deaf as well!

if we break up the labour intensive dog training and the less labour intensive dog training and leave some for volunteers and family and some dogs a good old pet and cross breeds we could and would lessen costs and re-open the list again.

as it stands, very very very few adults of any kind are receiving an assistive dog in this regime we have at present.
with society cracking up and breaking down and all flying off on all directions leaving the individual who is less able and at home high and dry without a paddle, i think its sad that the older and least able doesn't have the doggie.
they need it.
and finally this group need - a dog for the deaf, a dog for disability, a dog for communication (yes, do you won a dog and see how quickly communication can come about) and a dog for assistance, to be a pet and to love unconditionally.  when there is not a damn person around who actually cares enough anymore to be that extra help in health care needs.
  (i suggest myself as being in this category and rang to put my name down on the list years ago, and all i was told there were so many adults waiting i would be dead before i ever received one, so i am passionate that there has to be another way forward)
we have what seems a system where 'charity and cause of the day, flavour of the month' receives the DOG!

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