assistance dog on Overland Track

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assistance dog on Overland Track

Postby myrtlegirl » Thu 30 May, 2024 1:49 pm

I hesitated to post this because I expect it to generate some strong opinions. However I've noticed this forum is pretty good at respectful debate. Please keep in mind that this young woman may well have quite a backstory about how she came to have PTSD etc, and that this is a public forum.

I've seen the difference an assistance dog can make, and I've seen the difference getting immersed in wild places can make. Combining them? Good for the person, but what about the wild place?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-29/ ... /103852628

From the link:
Elise Smith has always enjoyed hiking, but it was almost impossible after she became unwell in 2018.

Then she met Lenny, the perfect assistance dog to get her back on (the walking) track. He's a leggy miniature Labradoodle, bursting with confidence and energy.

The pair are preparing to hike the Overland Track in the central highlands of lutruwita/Tasmania. It's a 65-kilometre, six-day trek, through spectacular world heritage forests and exposed environments with changing weather.

Elise shares how she's preparing for the walk with an assistance dog, and what it means to return to hiking. These are her words.
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Re: assistance dog on Overland Track

Postby Tortoise » Thu 30 May, 2024 2:56 pm

From what I've read, she's done a lot of training and prep for it. She'll be carrying out all his poo, he's well trained not to chase anything, she's gone through Parks and all their requirements for the exemption - including things like the little dog will always be on her left, thinking of walkers coming the other way. While I'm not usually a fan of dogs in wilderness areas, it sounds as though there will not be as much impact as many people make. And if I were in a similar situation to this young woman, I'd hope people would be understanding. I know there's the point about just the smell of a dog disturbing wildlife. But I think the said not-so-wildlife on the OLT would take more than that to be seriously disturbed.
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Re: assistance dog on Overland Track

Postby Xplora » Fri 31 May, 2024 7:47 am

I read this yesterday and can honestly say I have no issues. If she were blind and wanted to do the walk she could take a guide dog. The issue might be people copy catting her just to take the family pet but it seems Tas Parks will look for genuine reason and she looks to have a good few. I would hope people she meets on the journey are as accepting and perhaps Parks could provide info to other walkers around that time so they are not surprised.
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Re: assistance dog on Overland Track

Postby Nuts » Sat 01 Jun, 2024 10:01 am

I love dogs. It's great to see a system set up to accommodate assistance dogs in so many locations (even if this permitting seems to be widely misunderstood). So long as the dogs are registered assistance dogs, they are allowed & have a right to access wilderness.

I'd rather they weren't (a position which oddly feels rather disrespectful already here :) ) Maybe beyond designated day-walk areas, local reserves but would respect the fact that others may even think this isn't appropriate.

There are a vast array of limitations to access wilderness, from total incapacity through injury & myriad conditions. Old age to just plain lazy. Another thin edge wedge. All or none.
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Re: assistance dog on Overland Track

Postby crollsurf » Sat 01 Jun, 2024 10:24 pm

Are we as a species so disconnected from nature that we think the bird calls we hear are welcoming us to the bush!

It's a warning to all other wildlife.

So long as the dog is properly managed, which it sounds like it will be, it will be the human they're worried about.






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Re: assistance dog on Overland Track

Postby Nuts » Mon 03 Jun, 2024 8:26 am

Nuts wrote:I So long as the dogs are registered assistance dogs, they are allowed & have a right to access wilderness.




Just to add that this appears to be only correct by reference. There doesn't appear to be any formal requirement (in most states at least) to complete any approved program (?) It appears to be only mentioned formally as being that public officials have a 'right to see evidence'/ 'can produce reasonable evidence' etc. Given the disability act states a right to access a public area with an assistance dog (where other options don't exist). I can't see anywhere, a need to even ask permission or advise? And, while there are certainly documents/ id jackets etc. whether these are part of a formal system or just commercial, what constitutes reasonable evidence?
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Re: assistance dog on Overland Track

Postby EGM » Mon 03 Jun, 2024 9:46 pm

This is very interesting, I wasn't aware that assistance animals were permitted in national parks, other than guide dogs.

While I see the benefit on an individual level, I still don't think I like it. The whole concept of assistance animals is such a grey area already.

I am personally vision impaired, legally blind. One of the reason I don't have a guide dog is the difficulty of taking them places out of the city. Hopefully this dog is ad well trained as it says.

Id be interested to know how common this is, personally I don't think I've ever seen an assistance animal in an NP.
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Re: assistance dog on Overland Track

Postby tastrax » Mon 03 Jun, 2024 10:07 pm

Cheers - Phil

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Re: assistance dog on Overland Track

Postby Nuts » Tue 04 Jun, 2024 9:19 am

Thanks Phil. My experience with this was to enquire on behalf of a walker with such a dog. Later I talked at length with a person on the TT ferry about their experience. Sounded like it had been hard enough without the obstruction of minor authorities, ambiguous policy, occasional community attitude. This person had gone through some training and had purchased an 'accredited vest' 'just to lessen reaction to them. The DDA is the guiding document. Note the use of the word OR in the (P&W) quoted interpretation of what is 'qualified' :)

The act isn't really restrictive enough (for minimal impact /conservation purposes/my pov) and it's interpretation is typical bluster. The outcome just tedious enough to discourage. No doubt politically adequate.

Also, given that this legislation has been in place for 30yrs an angle on the first person to bushwalk with an assistance dog? News? Another installment in ABC's minority report quota..

PS. I do hope Elise has a great time out there.

I think my biggest concern for dogo (other than being forced to carry I guess) would be surprising a snake, it's not going to be able to/wont need to walk on the left most pf the way. Close check ichyness for ticks in summer.
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