Woof woof! I’m guide dog Fletcher and I’m wagging my tail as I’m putting together this blog. I’m excited. On Wednesday 25 May, I’m off to the Houses of Parliament to join 100 guide dogs lobbying for “AccessAllAreas”.
As a guide dog, I get to take my human – the fabulous Fiona – all over the place. You might remember when I met Ruby Wax on her book tour and travelled on weird and wonderful transport. I get to access all areas. It’s the law in the UK.
Refuse ME access when I’m working, you must be joking! The photo of me laughing just says it all.
But, sadly, it’s no laughing matter. Despite it being illegal, guide dogs get turned away from shops, restaurants and taxis.
I’ve met restaurant staffs who weren’t welcoming. One time I heard them say: “No dogs allowed. You have to leave”. Even when my human replied: “My guide dog and I are allowed in because it’s the law”, the staff continued to refuse us access. Despite my human feeling hurt (we guide dogs are good at picking up on these things) we stood our ground, only to have a waiter say: “We can’t have the dog – what would our customers think?”.
Eventually, we were seated behind a wall at the back of the restaurant. Despite being treated so poorly, we stayed – if only to prove to the restaurant staffs that having a well-behaved guide dog like me on the premises was no bad thing.
You see I’m so good when I go out with my human. I’m a professional. Here, in the photo, I’m snoozing at “Mr Fogg’s Residence” whilst my human enjoyed a celebratory afternoon tea with our friend, Ness; (snoozing is hard when there’s so much going on and tempting food is wafted past).
Occasionally, I might pop up to say hello and remind my two humans, when they’re eating, that I’m being good – just like in the picture below.
It’s horrible and illegal when guide dogs are refused access. That’s why I’m off on Wednesday to join 100 guide dogs at the Houses of Parliament and hand in a petition to MPs asking them to take action on access refusals. To strengthen the law. To ensure tougher sentences for taxi and private hire drivers who refuse access to us guide dogs and other assistance dogs.
Please sign Guide Dogs’ petition – there’s still time and it’ll be pawsome if you do.
Woof and paw, Fletcher!
P.S. Thanks to all of you following my blog. If you don’t follow my blog, do join them. Alternatively, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve signed the petition.
(c) pawsatthekerb™, May 2016.