Assistance dogs are canines that are trained to assist people suffering from mobility disabilities in their everyday lives. For example, dogs can help in terms of retrieving objects, opening and closing doors, turning light switches on and off, and can even be trained to carry contained breathing apparatus.
Why not check out a video of Ella and her dog? In the video Ella recalls how her dog has changed her life and given her a feeling of independence that she did not have beforehand.
Imagine how you would feel – if you were like Ella before she had her dog - to have to ask someone for help throughout every day? How would your life be if you needed someone to help every time you drop something, each time you want to go out, when you want to wash some clothes, turn on lights or even take off your socks?
In Finland, there are currently only 65 assistance dogs in operation. However, more are needed as the waiting time for a fully trained dog is currently several years. The assistance dog operations are mainly funded by the Slot Machine Association in Finland as well as via donations from private individuals.
This year, HyTest also contributed funds to the assistance dogs. The dogs are owned by The Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities and handed out to their users free of charge. Read more about assistance dogs in Finland (in Finnish) here.
Photos:Invalidiliiton arkisto/Aino Pikkusaari