Molly qualified as my Assistance Dog on 6th September 2016.
Molly was not bred or bought to be an Assistance Dog. She was bought as a pet, a companion for me and we didn't see anything more than that. As Molly grew older, I had started teaching her what I called helpful tricks, like picking up dropped items and fetching help, but they were nothing more than than. Then one day our neighbours gave us a cutting from a magazine, about a charity called Dog Assistance in Disability (Dog A.I.D.) and it changed everything.
Dog A.I.D. support disabled people to train their pet Dog to become their Assistance Dog, pairing Dog and owner with a volunteer trainer who works with the partnership through the three levels of training, until they qualify as an Assistance Dog partnership and gain the access rights, the working jacket and the ID book issued by Assistance Dog UK (ADUK) to dogs trained by ADUK member organisations (dogs trained outside of ADUK, or who are owner-trained, will not receive this booklet but are still protected by the Equality Act). Then the dog is able to accompany the person almost everywhere they go, such as hospital appointments, supermarkets, museums, public buildings and on days out, in places pet dogs are unable to go.
We applied to Dog A.I.D. and Molly’s temperament was assessed to ensure she would be suitable and then we were accepted onto the scheme when Molly was 10 months old. We worked really hard on her training and had great fun learning new things, Molly picks things up so quickly and she's a pleasure to train. Our trainer Midge is fantastic and we had so much fun training.
Molly and I loved the training and it took almost three years for us to qualify, as I had some health setbacks that meant, in total when time is added up, we spent 18 months unable to train at all. However, in June 2015 we passed our Level One, August 2016 our Level Two and on the 6th September 2016 we passed our Level Three assessment and became a fully qualified Assistance Dog partnership.
In our assessment we went to Homebase and to Sainsbury's and we had to perform various tasks and go round the shops showing Molly was well behaved, happy and fulfilling her duties. She didn't put a paw wrong and as such we passed with flying colours.
We gained our ID book and Molly her posh working jacket and now Molly was able to accompany me everywhere.
Molly loves to work, she gets so excited when her working jacket comes out and she does me proud every day. Molly had made an enormous difference to my life and I wouldn't be here today without her.
We're so grateful to everyone at Dog A.I.D. for all they've done for us and for other people and dogs just like Molly and I, as well as all they give to the charity. The trainers are all volunteers an d the charity does so much good work with a minute fraction of the funding compared to larger Assistance Dog organisations such as Guide Dogs.
Will you consider making a donation to Dog A.I.D. or supporting the charity in some way in honour of Molly and I? Every penny counts.
Click here to go to the Dog A.I.D website.
Lucy & Molly