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Attitude Awards put spotlight on Chance

Attitude Awards put spotlight on Chance

The Attitude Awards, known for recognising the incredible achievements of people with disabilities, is giving non-human go-getters a chance to shine too.

Mobility Dog Ambassador Chance will take centre stage when he delivers each award to host Simon Dallow at the Eden Park black tie event on December 1.

Chance is a four and half year old golden retriever who has his own physical disability. He was diagnosed with a growth deformity in his left front leg three years ago and needed surgery. This prevented him from continuing his training as a mobility dog and instead Chance became the face of the Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust.

Helen Spence, development manager at Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust (www.mobilitydogs.co.nz) and also Chance’s trainer, says mobility dogs work to enhance the lives of people living with long term disabilities by increasing their independence, confidence and self-esteem.

Training one Mobility Dog costs $25,000. To help with this an All Blacks jersey donated by adidas and signed by all the current team will be auctioned off by Attitude at the awards. Currently Mobility Dogs get very little funding and rely on the financial support of the caring and philanthropic communities of New Zealand.

For the last three years Ambassadog Chance has been making public appearances with Helen and is used to being on stage.

“I’m currently working with Chance to get him ready to deliver the Attitude Awards in a kete basket!” says Helen. “He’ll be on stage up to six times on the night and delivering each one to Simon Dallow who will be armed with a fair share of dog treats.”

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Mobility Dogs can learn more than 90 commands which include getting the TV remote, picking up fallen keys, pushing buttons, opening doors and retrieving the phone.

“We’ve just taught one of the dogs how to load a front load washing machine.” Helen adds.

Currently there are 20 dogs in New Zealand helping people with physical injuries, disabilities or health conditions that result in the loss of motor functions.

Helen adds that while Mobility Dogs share some similarities with Guide Dogs they are more ‘how can I help you?’ dogs that can be trained to assist people living with a wide range of physical disabilities with everyday tasks specific to their needs.

Some nominees of past Attitude Awards have had mobility dogs in their lives. Each dog is trained and paired with their partner by the time they reach 18 months to two years.


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