Provide a mechanism for owner-trained guide dogs to be certified
My name is Lynn Holdsworth. My wonderful guide dog Nicki died of cancer in 2011, and the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (Guide Dogs) put me on their waiting list for a new dog, but said that unfortunately they'd be unable to match me with one for at least a year. After almost falling under a tube train on my way to work, I made the difficult decision to buy a dog and train it to guide me. Lucy and I have been working together for two years, and she's kept me safe on tubes, crossing busy streets, navigating roadworks and in a lot of other situations where I wouldn't have been confident to go without a guide dog. With her help, I'm an ordinary person doing an ordinary job and living an ordinary life.
At around the time I began working with Lucy, I learned about another blind woman, Donna Waring, who was training her yellow Labrador, Alice, to work as a guide dog. Knowing that there's another owner-trainer out there has been a great encouragement to me, and we've become a two-person support group.
Because Lucy and Alice weren't trained by Guide Dogs, we don't have the paperwork that's given to owners of school-trained guide dogs to allow them to fly on planes, use public transport and be accepted in public places.
Dogs trained by owners with many other disabilities and conditions are being certified, and my research suggests that blind people are the only group of owner-trainers who are unable to have their dogs legally recognised.
Please sign this petition, and ask Guide Dogs to provide a mechanism for owner-trained guide dogs like Lucy and Alice to be certified and legally recognised, so that we, and other dog/owner partnerships in similar situations, can live normal lives.
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