5c1d353e3272f3fb05f090100e19563eSouthampton-based charity Independent Assistance Dog Agency (IADA) is raising funds to help disabled people train their dogs be be Assistance Dogs.

Independent Assistance Dog Agency, also known as IADA, is a Southampton-based disability charity helping applicants to train their existing pet dogs to become their Assistance Dogs. Assistance Dogs include guiding dogs, which lead their owners around obstacles and halt at changes in elevation, and mobility dogs, which pick up dropped objects and help to lift items from shelves, among others.

Assistance Dogs can be vital to people with varying disabilities leaving their home and going out on their own terms, as well as reducing the reliance on human carers within the home. The current Assistance Dog system in the UK involves disabled people applying to a charity to be matched to a dog that will already have most of its training. Opportunities to use an existing dog are sparse, and not offered for most categories of Assistance Dog, including Autism dogs for adults and mental health dogs, trained to interrupt damaging behaviours.

IADA is currently crowdfunding £1000 to contribute to the estimated £15,000 it will need in its first year. Various rewards are available for those who support the fundraiser, including keyrings, t-shirts, and the opportunity to see partnerships on their graduation days.