“It is important hard-working service dogs get a chance to exercise and have some off-leash down time, like any other dog. The creation of this small exercise facility will provide a safe, place for me to take my guide dog without the worry of losing track of her, like I might in a big park. It’s also easy to get here by bus,” said Helen McFadyen, Chair of the municipal Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities.
An estimated 75-80 registered, professionally- trained service dogs provide assistance to people with disabilities in the Halifax Regional Municipality. They include; guide dogs for the blind, ‘hearing’ dogs for the Deaf (which alert to bells, knocking, and alarms), seizure alert dogs for people with epilepsy, and ‘special skills’ dogs trained to perform specific tasks for a person according to their disability or medical condition.
What a fantastic idea!
To get access to the service dog park you need to have a registered Halifax service dog: this is easily accomplished, even for temporary visitors, by visiting the Halifax Service Centre in Scotia Square.
It took us about 10 minutes to register: we needed to show proof that Ethan is a service dog (we used Oliver’s Dog Guides ID card for this), and to provide Ethan’s breed, colour, and date of last rabies shot. We were issued–at no cost–a Halifax service dog tag and a credit-card-sized key card that unlocks the magnetic gate at the park. We’re allowed to keep the card between visits, meaning that Ethan will always have a place to run around outside when we’re visiting Halifax.
We visited the park every day of our trip to Halifax, and Ethan absolutely loved it (so much so that he decided to steal Oliver’s glove and run around with it as a demonstration of his freedom; the only way I got the glove back was to trade him for my hat: poodles).
Thank you, Halifax.