man with dog outside

‘They change lives’: the impact of assistance dogs

The positive impact of pets on people’s lives is a topic many would agree on.

Though vet fees can add up and training and walks may take hours from one’s life, pet owners usually find their mental and physical health improves because of regular exercise and increased sociability.

Indeed, a University of Lincoln study found that pet ownership saves the NHS £2.4bn a year – a sum that cannot be understated in the context of NHS funding crisis and shortages.

Yet, the impact of assistance dogs is a topic that deserves more public recognition.

Occasionally the subject comes to light such as the recent news about a woman who gave birth with her medical detection dog by her side.

But more awareness is needed about assistance dogs to ensure the public understands them, and so that more people can get access to these dogs as charities struggle to cope with rising demand.

Waiting times for charity-trained assistance dogs can be more than two years and their training can cost more than £20,000, leading to questions of funding and how to increase availability.

When we think of assistance dogs the first image that comes to mind is usually that of a guide dog, but there are many other categories of assistance dogs.

So just what is an assistance dog?

Read the full story here.

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