aHanau is the first municipality in the state of Hesse to become a “dog-friendly aid town”. The campaign is primarily aimed at educating people about the fact that assistance dogs for the disabled are also allowed to access places where other dogs are prohibited from entering, such as in grocery stores, said Roswitha Warda, president of the Pfotenpiloten Association, which campaigns for more admission of helpers. Specially trained people with disabilities. According to her, since last year German law has stipulated that all assistance dogs are exempt from the entry ban on dogs.
These specially trained four-legged friends are not legally classified as animals, but as medical aids. Warda said it wasn’t known enough. Many store owners, for example in the food trade, have turned away disabled people who have dogs because they thought their animals were not allowed into the store. Assistance dogs can be identified by a scarf, a blanket on their back, or a special belt.
“help dog welcome”
In addition to the city, the trade association and the municipality of Hanau Marketing GmbH are also involved in Hanau. Early retailers and restaurants were already persuaded and put up a poster at the entrance saying “help dogs are welcome”. The mayor of Hanau, Axel Weiss Thiel (SPD), said no one who was dependent on dog support in city facilities would be turned away because of the animal. This applies to visits by the authorities at the Citizens’ Office and at the Town Hall, as well as at leisure at the Kulturforum, at municipal museums or other points of contact.
Assistance dogs don’t just serve as guide dogs for the blind, Warda explained. There are also four-legged assistants for deaf and wheelchair users. They can pick up falling objects, push doorknobs and elevator buttons, and help undress at home.
Other animals are trained to accompany people with chronic illnesses. These animals can sense when an epileptic is about to have a seizure or when a diabetic’s blood sugar level drops too low. It is not known exactly how dogs noticed this, but they felt it before humans even noticed it on their bodies. The educational campaign of the Pfotenpiloten Association also wants to provide information on how a passerby or conversation partner of a disabled person treats a help dog better, that is, by ignoring it and not petting it. In this way, the animal is not distracted from its task.