WHAT WE DO
Empower Assistance Dogs enhance quality of life and independence for people with disabilities by providing professionally trained and government certified guide, hearing and assistance dogs. They are the first organisation that is government certified to train all three types of service dogs – guide, hearing and assistance dogs. The organisation achieves this through a program of selecting, raising and training dogs to assist disabled people with everyday tasks.
Guide, Hearing and Assistance dogs are trained to enhance the quality of life of vision or hearing impaired, and/or physically or mentally challenged persons whilst still maintaining as much independence for the handler. This means that the dog will be a permanent working companion for the disabled handler and will assist with a myriad of guide, noise alert or task work but whilst still having the handler work and interact as much as physically or mentally possible. In many cases, a secondary handler will be necessary to help with health, hygiene and exercise and to give play and environmental enrichment to the dog.
In 2009 the Queensland Government introduced the new Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Act which endeavours to work in with the Federal Disability Discrimination Act and it's amendments. This means for Guide, Hearing or Assistance Dog owners that regardless of whether the dog was professionally trained or owner trained, all dogs and handlers will have to go through and pass a Public Access Test and ensure their dog has been trained to do three tasks that assist the handler. Under the Act, Trainers have to be Certified through the government, and then they can carry out the Public Access Test on dogs and handlers. A dog and handler whom have passed will be issued an identification card and special badge for the dog's jacket or harness. Empower assistance dogs now has six government Certified Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Trainers. We were among the very first to pass and we were the first organisation to be certified to train all three types of service dogs (Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs) and therefore we are able to certify dogs and handlers.
AUSTRALIAN LEGISLATION ON ASSISTANCE DOGS
The Queensland Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 came into force on the 1st July 2009.
As of this date, all assistance dogs must be certified by an accredited trainer/training organisation, and must wear an identifying garment when out in public.
Disability Services Queensland
Ph: 1800 210 976
TTY: 07 3877 8226
Disability Discrimination Act: Part 1, Section 9 covers the rights of people accompanied by an assistance dog.
Some Factors that Affect Assistance Dog Applicants
We do not train other people's dogs to be guide, hearing or assistance dogs as we have not got the time to spare generally. To train a dog that is not the perfect candidate is extremely time and resource consuming and often does not get the desired results. Whilst we are putting effort into a dog that hasn't been professionally and specifically chosen for guide, hearing or assistance dog work, recipients could be waiting longer periods of time to gain a reliable working partner.
We do not place guide, hearing or assistance dogs in homes that already have other pet dogs as it is not fair on the guide, hearing or assistance dog and can be very counter productive.
We reserve the right to choose the dogs that we partner and won't be told that only a certain breed of dog is wanted and we will not train certain breeds which we do not believe are the best candidates for the job.
OUR ASSISTANCE DOG JOURNEY
Craig and Tracey Murray have been raising and training assistance dogs for many years and in fact they were the first to gain Certification under the Act in 2009.
Empower Assistance Dogs is now the first Organisation to be certified under the Queensland Government Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Act 2009 to be able to train all three types of service dogs - guide, hearing and assistance dogs.
This means that Empower Assistance Dogs can develop a broader program to cover all three service dog principals
including a breeding program, puppy raising program, and of course by gaining your help, we will be able to raise and train more dogs to be able to assist more people.