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Olympics 2012

Assistance Dogs will be welcome at all Olympic Games venues. The information on the ADUK website will help you to ensure you and your assistance dog enjoy your visit to the Olympics.

Assistance dog partner Wendy Morrell compiled much of this information. Wendy has been working with LOCOG since 2007 to ensure that the needs of assistance dog owners are met at all 2012 Olympic venues.

Assistance Dogs (UK) has been assured by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games that there will be an assistance dog relief area at every Olympic venue.

Further information at ADUK: Olympics 2012

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A “Recognised Assistance Dog” is one which has been specifically trained to assist a disabled person and which has been qualified by one of the charitable organisations registered as members of Assistance Dogs UK. Assistance dogs trained by members of Assistance Dogs UK will have formal identification and have been endorsed by the Department of Health, on the basis that the dog’s high standards of training, behaviour, health and welfare are such that it should be permitted to accompany its client, owner, or partner, at all times and in all places, within the United Kingdom.

Assistance Dogs UK – FAQS

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Train travel and Hearing Dogs

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People are working closely with Passenger Focus with the aim of raising awareness about the needs of deaf and disabled people who require assistance when booking train travel. Please take the time to fill in the questionnaire, invite others to take part also.

Once HDfDP have the results it will hopefully strengthen their position when they lobby both the train operating companies and Government, to ensure that the needs of deaf people accompanied by hearing dogs are included, particularly with regards to space for their hearing dog.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Philip at philip.biggs@hearingdogs.org.uk

PhotobucketI’ve had a few problems when travelling by train. This tends to be with other passengers rather than when booking. In my experience,  the train companies are more than happy to give my hearing dog a free ‘seat’ to sit so he is out of the way of other passengers. In practice, this doesn’t always work. My dog is very jumpy and nervous on trains because other people are always stepping on him. On one occasion a couple had jumped on the train in my carriage, and the empty seat next to me being the first one they saw, the man demanded that I get out and give his wife the empty seat. I said no as I had a hearing dog on the floor next to me, tucked out of the way. He grabbed my handbag and my arm, and proceeded to pull me out of my seat. Other passengers started shouting at him to leave me alone. There were plenty of empty seats on the train. My dog was disturbed by the commotion and got out and into the aisle, making it difficult for anyone to go anywhere. The man and his wife did go off to find other seats – without an apology – it was then that I noticed he was wearing a hearing aid. Oh, the irony!

Click on this weblink  www.passengerfocus.org.uk/assistedtravel

If you answer ‘NO’ to question one you will only have access to a limited amount of pages.

Click on the title ‘Passenger Focus Assisted Travel Survey’ in the middle of the page. That will direct you to the homepage of the survey.

For many disabled passengers, the assistance provided by the Assisted Passenger Reservation System (APRS) is crucial in enabling them to travel on the National Rail network. Train companies ask passengers who require assistance to book at least 24 hours in advance using APRS. We would like to know what you think about the service.

Recognising the value and importance of this service to passengers who require assistance to use public transport, Passenger Focus undertakes regular research into the service and we are repeating that work this year.

In addition to this research we have worked with voluntary groups to create a survey which can be used by other organisations. We are supporting organisations who wish to run the survey so that they can get direct feedback from their members. There are just 24 short questions about the service and a space to say more if you choose to. So please take part and tell your friends about the survey too. The Assisted Passenger Reservation Service (APRS) provides vital assistance to disabled people using the national rail network by providing them with a facility to pre-book assistance for their journey.

It takes only a few minutes to do and the closing date is Friday 2 July 2010.

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Apparently barriers to access go all the way to the top ….
Read about the European pet night, an annual event held at the European Parliament this year which aimed to raise awareness of animal welfare issues. Assistance dogs and police dogs were not allowed in by security, on the grounds that they posed a security threat – only one assistance dog was allowed in.

Gee, mum …. I TOLD you security staff are the worst kind of hoomans! Do they think dogs like me carry a bomb under my coat?

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Read the story of Evie Crook, who’s 7 years old, and her Hearing Dog Gem.

Getting more talkative……. mum knows all about that one!

It sounds like it will be a fantastic partnership! Check out the BBC’s video (Sorry mum, no subtitles …. silly, innit?!)

Update
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I’ve just checked out Evie and Gem’s video on You Tube and it’s not subtitled either. What a shame, it’s only accessible by hearing people. What about deaf people, especially as this is a Friend for Life award competitor who’s actually a deaf person. As this video hasn’t been subtitled, Evie can’t watch it and neither can mum.

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Mum took me to a primary school to explain to the students how I help her and what a difference I’ve made to her life. She spoke to 500 students throughout the day, delivering lots of workshops and answering everyone’s questions with David’s help. Some of the questions were really good, they showed the students were really thinking through what being deaf means. Mum’s favourite question (and mine) was “Why is your dog so beautiful?”. Here are a couple of photos from the day – here I am being mobbed! Every single person wanted to pat me.

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It was a mainstream school and there is a deaf unit within the school. The students are integrated into mainstream education as appropriate. All around the school were large posters of the fingerspelling alphabet and a lot of the hearing children knew some sign language – mum was very impressed with that. Here’s the teacher David with 3 of his deaf students.

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We had a really great day and they very kindly gave us some wine and dog treats. My tail hasn’t stopped wagging all day.

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Noodle bars

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Mum loves noodle bars. She’s always popping into one and having something that smells delicious. I find it really hard to sit and act like the well-trained dog I should be. So mum usually ends up, after I’ve done some dancing around, putting her fleecy coat on the hard floor so I can snuggle up and dream about what she’s eating.

We usually go to our favourite noodle bar, Hare & Tortoise – it’s much better than Wagamama. It’s a favourite because they serve huge portions and mum says the food is really really good. The staff even ask if they can have their photos taken with me. Her favourites are tori katsu and curry laksa – mum’s going to try to make them at home. Just look at the recipes, they’re so long!

Recipes for tori katsu & curry laksa

We tried another noodle bar yesterday. We were hungry after watching a film at the cinema, so we went to Miso. The staff immediately told us to leave when they saw me. Mum explained I’m a Hearing Dog and they agreed to let us in, as I had my coat on so they had no choice really. The food seemed much healthier than at the Hare & Tortoise. Mum had crispy duck and pancakes which I tasted too, it was soo good. Then she had chicken noodle soup, it was much less greasy than the Hare’s laksa and there weren’t as many ingredients in it, but it was still good. The white wine tasted like vinegar so mum sent that back and got red, which was a little better.

We went to a nearby cafe to have cheesecake and milkshakes which were excellent. The place was busy and friendly as usual, but it was messy as hell with papers and used plates & cups everywhere. Mum embarrassed me by telling Viki what happened the last time we hit this place for coffee and cake. Mum had just picked up her order and sat down on one of the bar stools near the cake counter. She was busy talking and then turned round to see me munching away. Obviously (luckily for me), a huge piece of chocolate cake had fallen off the high counter and onto the floor, and I didn’t hesitate. Mum & Jane laughed so hard as I had this huge piece of cake wedged in my mouth and most of it was sticking halfway out of my jaws. But not for long!

I was so glad to get home last night and get my dinner, after watching mum eat her way through hers! Maybe I should develop a taste for noodles….

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