Arthritis and service dogs?

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JellyBean67187
JellyBean67187 Member Posts: 6
edited 5. Jul 2019, 15:10 in Living with arthritis
Hi,

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience getting a service assistant dog? I'm off to uni in september and the thought of being alone is kind of scary, so I'm toying with the idea. But, I dont know if its actually possible or an easy process to go through with this kind of disability.

Thanks
Jess

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  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,710
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    First of all congratulations on getting into uni. That's no mean feat when you have arthritis. I did it many, many years ago and I had problems doing my A-levels and later, during finals, had to have an amanuensis. Definitely worth it though.

    I don't know whether or not Assistance Dogs are available for people with arthritis. I Googled it and there are lots of sites you could enquire at. I think they would know better than us as I've never seen anyone on here writing about it.

    Another thing you might try is enquiring about your chancees of getting into a hall of residence. I was in one during my first year. It's very easy to make friends, I found, and I also found people very understanding about my limitations. Of course I joined in probably more than I should have done and paid the penalty and still haven't learnt that lesson :lol:

    But do go and enjoy the whole experience whether or not you can get an Assistance Dog.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I second the congratulations, that is a wonderful achievement: what will you be reading?

    I have not heard of such a thing for those with arthritis but know there are long waiting lists for those who are blind and/or deaf to receive a dog. A number of practical thoughts have crossed my mind regarding the care of the animal such as would you be able to exercise it properly, groom it, keep it clean etc.? I know the RNIB runs a scheme for sighted people to work alongside guide dog owners to do the practicalities but whether that would apply to other assistance dog organisations I don't know (and actually, why would it?)

    You never know your 'luck' - you might meet other people your age with arthritis and it will be your chance to educate those who know nothing about this disease so they gain a necessary insight. University offers a structured environment to further develop into adulthood - I found it annoying at times that I couldn't get away from people. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,458
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    The Kennel Club won't allow service dogs to enter any competitions, they say the dogs have lead a stressed life. I looked for more information but it's not generally available, certainly the dogs that work for a living seem well exercised, cared for with access to veterinary aid and very content.

    Is this the new type of animal husbandry?
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    The Kennel Club won't allow service dogs to enter any competitions, they say the dogs have lead a stressed life
    I find that somewhat odd since the life of a show dog is hardly stressfree - especially those which have become so distorted by breeding as to have health problems as well. Yes the likes of police dogs may face some hairy situations, but they are also trained to face them, and are monitored carefully to ensure their continued wellbeing - not something all showdogs can take for granted.
    General assistance dogs I would have thought don't face undue stress, and in fact will have a better life than those 'family' pets left home alone the whole day and then expected to cope with whatever owners and kids deal out on their return.
    Where I work there is a "no dog except assistance dogs" policy, and we are seeing more such, but difficulties arise where they don't have some sort of recognisable working harness( the site isn't one that visually impaired people visit very often) as other members of the public then wonder why that person has been able to bring a dog in but they can't.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,710
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    :? Could you explain that last bit, please, daffy? I've only known two assistance dogs, from different parts of the UK and working for people with different disabilities but I was told by both owners that the dogs were only working when in harness. Out of harness they could be petted but never in harness and so working.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,458
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    The report on service dogs came from the Telegraph a few weeks ago, I believe.
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Sticky, the problem arises when a visitor turns up and says 'My dog is an assistance dog so I need to bring it in', but it doesn't have a working harness like guide dogs do. I don't think we have ever refused entry in those circumstances(even if we have doubts) since there will usually be evidence of disability status to claim discount. The other visitor service staff on duty that day will be informed, but there have been issues when other members of the public have seen such a dog and queried why it has been let in when they know it's a no dogs site or have been refused entry for their own(non-assistance) dog. Where there is a wheelchair or an electric buggy involved the question doesn't tend to arise as visitors make the connection.
  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,458
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    This story seems to have a connection to the RSPCA, there is an animal activist group attempting a takeover of the charity with efforts to ban horse racing and angling. There are references in the story to a hard left (Labour wannabees) who want power.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,710
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I see your point now, daffy, and thanks for the clarification. I'm still a bit surprised, though, as any working dog I've seen, whether a guide dog or other type, has had to wear a working harness when working. However, I see this is not a legal requirement so I can understand the problem for shóps etc. Why on earth isn't it, I wonder? That would surely make life simpler for all concerned.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Sticky I think part of the problem is when an assistance dog is identified as such by the owner(or parents in 2 recent cases we had) rather than coming through a scheme such as guide dogs. Even so I do think that it would help if they did at least wear some sort of working dog(as opposed to 'control') harness, even if it doesn't have any logos etc on.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,710
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I quite agree. I'm also a tad concerned for the dogs. They're not machines. How are they to know when they're working and when not if they have no harness on and are then stroked (and so distracted) by well-intentioned people who are unaware? And, if an Assistance Dog is not working when outdoors, why should it be treated differently to any other dog? It seems to be an area crying out for guidance.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Starburst
    Starburst Member Posts: 2,546
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Congratulations on getting into university. Well done, you. :)

    Have a look at Assistance Dogs UK www.assistancedogs.org.uk who are a coalition of 8 organisations who train service dogs. Each org has its own eligibility criteria; some are hearing dogs or guide dogs.

    There is a section on assistance dogs and the law on that website which will hopefully be helpful. These organisations have very long waiting lists, so I’m unsure if things would be in place quickly. Some people, sadly, wait years as the organisations are over subscribed and there is a considerable cost to the organisations to train the dogs.

    Are university aware of your needs and have you been assessed for the Disabled Students Allowance? I found DSA really helpful. They provided equipment and a support worker a few hours a week. https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas