Friday, 11 April 2008

My Dog Isn't Invisible....

. . .but my disability is. Join Barking Mad for events around the country to raise awareness and celebrate the value of dogs to people with disabilities. In this event, now in our second year, we aim to demonstrate how highly trained (and often self-trained) dogs assist people with invisible disabilities. Event date 3rd December, events announced in August.

IT COULD BE YOU! Grief, despair, stress, change - it can get to us and stop us from functioning fully in life. It could be temporary, long-term or even permanent. If you don't get on top of it after it gets on top of you, you can become a 'burden' on our health care system. If your dog assists you to maintain a healthy life, to stay alive, to participate in society, then you and doggie may be protected from discrimination by the Disability Discrimination Act.

IT COULD BE YOUR MUM. Barking Mad is often told about a women in her senior years who is having difficultly coping with grief after the death of a life-partner. (As boomers, these 60 year partnerships leave us in awe). We then hear of how their partner's dog comforts them. This may sound like a difficult but manageable situation, but what about when Mum moves into a unit and the neighbour decides that 'dogs don't belong in units' and lets Mum know. Barking Mad gets these stories nearly every week. Dog gets surrendered because Mum can't deal with conflict from her new neighbour. Lots of doggie rescue organisaitons come in to help the dog, but who now assists Mum with getting through her grief? Sure, she may cope; but she may start to withdraw and lose her will to live as she has now lost her reason to go out for a walk every day.

I really want to stress how often Barking Mad hears these stories. If we are hearing so many, how many aren't we hearing? We are an ageing population. The average age of people in care is 70, and the average age of their carers in 50 (source Legacy employee). In ten years, we will have a major crisis. If a dog assists a person to keep their independence longer, it is essentially a HEALTH CARE WORKER. Full stop. It will work 24/7 for ten years without complaint and never ask for a pay rise.

Please - if you can organise an event in your area, perhaps if you have a dog that visits health care facilities, or if you have had a 'my dog saved my life' experience, contact us. We will be registering events mid-year. We are quietly excited about some health care agencies who 'love' our campaign in this area and hope we can announce sponsors or partnerships with these organisations soon.

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