Guide dog and assistance dog owners have the same right to services supplied by shops, banks, hotels, libraries, pubs, taxis and restaurants as everyone else.
This is the message sent out by Maria-Christina Patala who is the founder of “Assistance Dogs Cyprus” who clarified exactly what an assistance dog is.
An Assistance Dog is the trained or trainee dog for people with visible or hidden disabilities.
Assistance Dogs have free access everywhere, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
They can be identified by a special collar bearing the label ‘Assistance Dog’ and by their official certificates.
The training of an Assistance Dog is especially adapted to the needs of the handler/owner and his/her specific condition.
For example, Assistance Dogs belonging to persons with epilepsy are trained so that, on most occasions, they can respond during a seizure and are able to recognise and communicate to their handler/owner that a seizure is imminent.
Furthermore, by their mere presence, Assistance Dogs strengthen the psychological state of disabled persons, helping them gain self-confidence and feel less anxiety and fear, by providing greater safety and freedom of movement inside and outside the home.