Let's have an email to this list for the first time in..... how's the weather?

----- Original Message ----- From: "Donna Waring" <do...@abeldog.co.uk>
Sent: Thursday, July 04, 2013 12:46 PM
Subject: Would you sign our petition to encourage Guide Dogs UK to provide a mechanism to certify owner trained guide dogs?

I very rarely ask anyone to sign an internet petition, so I hope you will forgive the group email.

as some of you may know and some not, I've been working for the last two years now with a yellow Labrador called Alice that I trained myself to guide me after returning my last dog back to Guide Dogs UK because I felt he was unsafe.

Alice performs all the tasks of a normal guide dog plus several assistance dog tasks such as finding my keys and phone, handing me objects I drop and standing over smaller objects such as pound coins or taking me to them.

However, I am unable to get her officially certified because Guide Dogs UK does not recognise owner trained dogs. This means that I can't fly with her, and though I have encountered no access problems anywhere yet, I have no legal access rights under the Equality Act as someone would with an official guide dog.

This petition is to encourage Guide Dogs UK to think out of the box and look at providing a mechanism for supporting and recognising owner trained guide dogs provided they meet a certain standard. This has been done with great success in the past in other countries such as New Zealand. and there are currently other charities in the UK who provide help and support for owner trainers of assistance dogs, but as I have no other disabilities apart from blindness, they are unable to work with me.

This petition was written by my good friend Lynn Holdsworth who owner trained a rescue dog Lucy to guide her. She briefly tells her story at the beginning.

There is no pressure on anyone to sign, and this is the only email I will send regarding this petition. We realise that maybe nothing will be achieved in Lucy and Alice's time, but if we are able to plant the seed and so help other owner trainers in the future, then at least we will have achieved something.

Please feel free to share with friends. There is space for you to put comments too if you like.

Here is the link:

Kind regards

Donna Waring

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