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A grand day out!

Hot on the heels of their recent successful trip to attend the first ever assistance dog conference to be held in Japan, Allen and Sandra Parton flew off recently to Phoenix, Arizona USA To attend the joint International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) and Assistance Dogs International (ADI) conference.

Allen was invited to be the key note speaker at the conference held in Phoenix; sadly Allen’s faithful companion Endal, as on the Japanese trip, had to be left behind. Though dogs can now travel to the USA on the pet passport scheme assistance dogs are still not allowed to fly in the aircraft cabin and Allen said he would never expose Endal to 12 hours in a crate in the hold of an aircraft, so he had to remain at home once again.

Allen explained: ‘I really had to do some soul searching when agreeing to attend this conference because of having to leave Endal but one of our aims has always been to raise the awareness world wide of what all assistance dogs can do for their owners. Someone once said to me that it is a lead and not handcuffs between Endal and me which is so true, so I made the decision to attend.’

Allen added ‘it is such an honour to have been asked to address such a prestigious conference and considering I couldn’t talk seven years ago this has been yet another major milestone in my recovery thanks to Endal’.

Allen and Sandra explained to the international audience how Endal had transformed his life, in what was described as a very honest and emotional talk. There was hardly a dry eye in the room as Allen explained the various ways that Endal had helped him in his recovery. There were moments of great humour one of such was when Allen said that due to his head injury because he had forgotten getting married to Sandra they remarries two years ago, he said that he had also forgotten the birth of his two children but both Allen and Sandra said they would not be having any more!

During his address Allen said how much he was missing Endal and if any one attending the conference would allow him some doggie therapy with their dogs he would be only too grateful.

Well, throughout the week long conference Allen and Sandra were surrounded by a constant sea of dogs. Allen said ‘I was so touched be the generosity of the partnerships sharing their dogs with Sandra and me.’

Whilst there Allen and Sandra took the opportunity to go sightseeing and they spent one of the days visiting the Grand Canyon (above), enthusing ‘Mother Nature truly is the world’s best architect, the Canyon was awesome and it is just not possible to put into words how wonderful it is.’