Prince Harry and Assistance Dogs

Prince Harry is patron of the  Invictus Games Foundation  which have a very important role of assistance dogs.

Prince Harry is very involved in all that relates to assistance dogs. Especially those who concerning any activity of many sponsoring, some of them next to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. He has a special affection for Invictus Games, whose foundation he is Patron. In the picture we can see Prince Harry with one of the dogs of assistance from one of the athletes participating in the first Invictus Games. In the bandana you can see the motto of the Invictus: «I AM» (I am Invictus).

Prince Harry with an assistance dog of one of the participants in the London 2014 Invictus Games. (Photo: Fotos: newdogworld y laneygossip)

Prince Henry of Wales was inspired to bring in 2014 Invictus Games to London, after visiting the 2013 Warrior Games in America. The Invictus is the Games where wounded veterans -serving his country- participate in a sporting competition. No less than 400 athletes from 13 countries. He is highly involved, and excited recently announced that the next edition will be in Orlando 2016. His speeches are applauded  it shows that they words are from the heart, because he has the soul of an «Army man» .

Susquehanna Service Dogs. Assistance puppy. Click for more information

Prince sees the Games as part of a comprehensive support to those men and women who have served their country,  with a care continuum in which are included therapy and assistance dogs,  training and employment opportunities. In fact the retriver who has in his arms in the photo has a vest of the same organization it another labrador retriver puppy: Susquehanna Service Dogs, a program of Keystone Human Services.

You´ll see retriver the most of times as therapy and assistance dogs , because they are one of the breeds most suitable for their intelligence, ability to learn and socialize. But it is also one of the favorite breeds of many people even if they have special needs. Even rumored that Prince Harry has one, given at Christmas by his brother, Prince William and Catherine Middleton  and that she offered to take care of the dog when Prince Harry have to leave to attend the commitments of its Title, or for his position in the Army.

Michelle Obama received by Prince Harry.

As I told you in a previous article, everyone knows of the interest of the Royal Family of UK and even our Queen Letizia for assistance dogs, and organizations in charge of their training and access for people who need these dogs. Not only members of the royal families are interested in them, also very relevant people and many celebrities are more or less involved in the work of service dogs and therapy mode and even lend their image and time to be familiar with the important work of these dogs and have greater access to them.

Michelle Obama and one of her dogs welcome children with special needs in the White House.

Michelle Obama who wanted support from the zero the Games and sent a video to be made as a presentation before the opening speech Prince Harry, had some truly exciting words about veterans and their example of perseverance, leaving his experienceI deal with them because of their position. Michelle Obama often appears in public with one or two dogs the family have now in the White House, because -as you know- one of her daughters is allergic to dog hair and they can only have Portuguese water dogs.

Betty White with her pitbull.

Other celebrities like Betty White, one of the famous » The Golden Girls», is very involved in various causes and organizations related to assistance dogs. In one defends the validity of even the pitbull breed as suitable for therapy dog, with their own pet who won an award as an important American Hero association, the American Humane Association Hero Dog. The dog in question has warned to her of   two fires and lies while his grandchildren read. If you want my personal opinion, there is a big number of  breeds  and I wouldn´t opt for a pitbull as a first choice even  highly trained to be … 

Perro graduado como perro de asistencia
Dog graduate as assistance dog.

Technically it´s a difference between therapy dogs and assistance dogs. As therapy dogs who do not perform physical activities, but provide love, affection and companionship for its peaceful, stable and submissive temperament. Personally, when I talk about assistance dogs I mean all without distinction. It´s very important to say that the service dog must be trained in specialized centers.  they must be officially recognized and will provide dogs who have completed their training and acquired the necessary skills.

Assistance dogs may be even your own dog, in some associations are able to train, but they need your dog has the capacity to be. If you choose the association do not accept your dog, they have their serious reasons for doing so. They will advise you which is the right of those for your particular needs. 

Perro guía para personas ciegas o sordo-ciegas
Guide dog for the blind or deaf-blind

The most recognized associations in Spain are ( For other countries don´t hesitate to contact me):

Currently there are assistance dogs for the blind or deaf blind, deaf, with special mobility needs, diabetes, epilepsy (You can see more here or contact me) Autism spectrum disorders, or whenever useful therapy pets.


Assistance dogs in training period for assistance in autism.

In short, the ideal assistance dog that is able to adapt its characteristics to the function you want to play and have a docile, quiet and affectionate nature, besides that their behavior is predictable. Once trained to be a balanced and appropriate for living in society dog. The dog breeds most suitable for therapy and assistance dogs are Labrador retriver, German Shepherd, Greyhound, Beagle, Rotweiler, San Bernardo, Pomeranian, Poodle, Pug and French Bulldog.

In training assistance dogs there is a fundamental factor that differentiates training any dog trained. I mean the factor of Intelligent Disobedience, it is the assistance dog is able to go directly against the instructions of its owner when the situation demands to safeguard of a danger that the owner is not able to foresee or warn. This is the fundamental factor of their training, vital to the success of their service. It has been used since 1963.

Assistance dog in autism spectrum disorders.

The concept of intelligent disobedience is especially practical for example to guard the integrity of the people who suffer as the «breaks suddenly» avoid abuses and assist in establishing the correct behavior. In this type of disorder in particular, they are even trained to help in therapy.  There is documentation that proves that an assistance dog to let you spend with him many of the sites such as airplane cabins, restaurants, etc.

Documentation that has been dubiously or even clearly misused even by some famous have preferential access to airports or pets traveling on business rather than on hold, you can see several examples on the Internet. This has grown into such a scandal that the Department of Justice of the United States has had to warn you try not pass a common pet dog as one of assistance. Other organizations have also awareness campaigns in this regard. 

Campaña contra la suplantación de perros de asistencia
Campaign Against spoofing assistance dogs.

In USA and European countries the issue is legislated assistance dogs with their corresponding certificates, requirements, violations, fines etc. In Mexico City, it makes very little has come out quite clear and hard legislation for those who don´t allow access to this type of dogs with a fine of up to 14,000 pesos about 743,00 €.

Train a service dog costs between 6,000.00 and € 15,000.00 but in Spain through grants and aid partnerships that can get access to them at no cost,    – as the ONCE, which bears all expenses- or a minimum price in the case of other organizations.  Once acquired the dog have to keep it perfectly, of course, with adequate food, veterinary checks, vaccinations and medicines hygiene, etc.

Documentación acreditativa de los perros de asistencia
Identifying service dog vest with card holder .

Yet you will not reach the approximate figure of about € 56,000.00 per year minimum, which will cost you only pay the presence of specialized therapists caring for almost 24 hours, 365 days a person with special needs. Under no circumstances I want to say that a dog can replace a person, not vice versa. Both will be tired and need to sleep. But both they have and provide features that the other can not provide.

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