An assistance Dog trained by Dogs for the Disabled has become the charity’s first assistance dog to travel to the US under the Pets Passport scheme.
Wendy Morrell and Caesar have just returned from a three-week trip of a lifetime to the USA. The partnership was invited to San Diego where they gave a keynote speech at the IAADP (International Association of Assistance Dog Partnerships) conference who were gathered to celebrate and discuss the partnership between disabled person and assistance dog. Dogs for the Disabled also attended the Assistance Dogs International conference where their chief executive was re-elected as a Vice President of the association.
Wendy decided to use the opportunity to make the trip into a proper vacation and flew into New York before travelling on to Washington and then on to San Diego before returning back to New York.
Wendy explains why the trip was so important: “Before I became disabled I had a pilot’s licence and used to travel abroad regularly, but my injuries following an accident put a stop to all that.
Having Caesar as my carer has given me the freedom and confidence to travel again, we have already been to Europe and when last year the law changed to allow Assistance Dogs to travel to the US I was really excited.
“Caesar and I are a team and knowing he is able to help me gives me confidence to travel alone. Visiting the US has been an amazing experience; every where that we travelled we met with friends that I’d made via the Assistance Dog movement or because of a shared passion in the golden retriever breed. It was great to be able to share experiences with other people who have assistance dogs and I hope my travels will ultimately help other assistance dog partners in this country and abroad.”
As a fully-trained assistance dog, Caesar was able to fly with Wendy in the cabin of the aeroplane. They landed in New York and spent several days enjoying the famous sights of the city before going to Washington DC where Caesar became one of the few dogs to have visited The Senate. Other highlights of the trip also included wale watching, visiting the Statue of Liberty and of course the San Diego conference itself.
Wendy admits that the trip took a lot of planning and preparation, but says that it has all been worth it. “Caesar and I have been lucky in the friends we have chosen and those who have chosen us, without all our friends this trip would never have been possible, a HUGE thank you is due to all of them.”