There is no way to get to the doctor with a guide dog – “How do people imagine something like this?”

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from: Frank Sommer

Offenbach native Gertrud Frese is blind. She talks about her experience. The city’s Disability Advisory Council is calling for more adoption of guide dogs for the blind.

Offenbach – The events that Gertrud Frese can tell you are shocking and infuriating: Frese has been blind since childhood and depends on a guide dog for her daily life. But in recent years, she has repeatedly experienced discrimination and insults and lacked understanding, something that many people across Germany who depend on assistance dogs in their daily lives are going through. “For example, when I visited a gynecologist, the receptionist refused to enter the practice,” says the 74-year-old. “I’ve been told to leave the dog at home or put it on the street so I can go in – how do people imagine that?”

Also a bus driver Offenbach She was on the bus with her companion dog and wanted to throw her out of the vehicle when a woman with a wheelchair got on – wheelchairs were more important than dogs, he claimed. “I’m not really doing it because of the conflict, but I insisted that I have the right to stay on the bus,” she says. Frese then stood in the hallway with his guide dog, reports say

Discrimination against the disabled – knowledge and empathy are often lacking

But such incidents occur all over Germany, points out Frese, who is involved in Offenbach’s Disabled People’s Advisory Council and the Blind and Visually Impaired Association. When the cafe staff refused to serve them because they didn’t want to tolerate the dog, several guests expressed their solidarity with me and left the cafe.

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While guide dog Gasay, a nine-and-a-half-year-old flat-haired retriever, wears a brace, he watches over Gertrud Frese. © Summer

In addition to a lack of empathy, problems often stem from ignorance, Frese says. Rainer Marx, chairman of Offenbach’s Disability Advisory Council, also calls for more training and consideration of the needs of people with and without disabilities. “A lot of people don’t know that when you have a guide dog on duty, it’s considered a medical aid, not a dog,” he says. After all, no wheelchair user would be asked to leave their wheelchair in front of the door and then figure out how to get into the building somehow. “You have to understand that anyone who has a guide dog also depends on it,” Marks says.

According to federal law, no one with a disability should be worse off, medical assistance is allowed to participate in public life, exceptions must be clearly justified. However, there is a lot of ignorance about the situation for people who rely on service dogs. “This urgently needs to change,” says Frese.

Petting distracts from the auxiliary work

Assistance dogs are specially trained dogs that help people with disabilities,

Support disorders or illnesses in daily life. The most well-known is the guide dog for the blind, but there are other specializations: there are dogs trained for diabetes that can smell and show their owners’ blood sugar fluctuations, animals trained for epilepsy and narcolepsy, can bring medicine in emergencies and are trained to receive help.

For people with severe mobility impairments, guide dogs are trained to open and close doors, operate switches and help people undress. Less well known is a dog trained for the deaf, which points out the sources of noise. Assistance dogs must be approved by the health insurance company and trained for one and a half to three years. They stay with their humans for about six years before retiring.

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When a service dog is on a leash, they are on alert and should not be talked to or petted, as this would distract them from their support role. Working assistance dogs are not considered animals, but medical aids and should not be banned from public spaces such as doctors’ offices, grocery stores, or museums. Today, on self-help day, information about guide dogs is provided in the pedestrian zone. Information: ”

Discrimination against the disabled – the city council wants to improve the situation

The Disability Advisory Council wants to improve the situation of people with guide dogs in Offenbach. The aim is that Offenbach…

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