The Commute, some answers to the questions you never asked.

Commuting in London, conjures up all sorts of images, the sharply dressed rushing to get the train, swerving around the people trying to give you a free paper while trying to grab a freebie without breaking your stride. All while trying to avoid tripping over the homeless people surrounded by sandwiches and a torn coffee up as they sleep in the doorways.  

The commute has never been the most enjoyable experience for anyone, the big reset of the pandemic and #BeKind, the post pandemic return would surely improve right? Well, in short, No. 

Trains, buses, tubes and walking in London all have their positives and negatives. Sprinkle a dusting of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and an Assistance Dog into the mix the commute is hellish. 

What is an assistance dog? 

An assistance dog is a valuable bit of kit, they are trained by both charities and owners alike, their roles are life saving and a majority of them are enablers. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Assistance dogs come in all shapes and sizes, a majority of them are gun dog breeds such as labradors. There are however, a vast number of other breeds used to help enable disbaled people live normal lives. 

What should you do if you see an assistance dog? 

Ignore it, simple as that. A lot of people love dogs and naturally want to engage with them, sometimes they do this subconsciously. At times it is like the service user doesn’t exist.

If you see an assistance dog using an escalator and it’s blocking your path, stop and wait, be patient, squeezing past is dangerous. pushing past is worse you could cause serious harm to the dog. Escalators are one of the most dangerous parts of any commute and require special training. Be patient, be kind if you are 

What are the consequences of distracting an assistance dog?  

As crazy as it sounds, there is a real risk of death! If you distract a medical detection dog who is specially trained to identify and intervene in medical emergencies, distracting the dog could be dangerous. The diverse skills that assistance dogs have means that some are bespoke to their service user. Therefore you don’t need to worry about the consequences, you just need to not distract them. 

What can you do? 

There are a number of things that can be done and they vary from ignoring the dog, ask the owner if they need help, this can be offering a seat or asking if there is anything they can do. This isn’t a free pass to then play with or interact with the dog, they are working. 


One thought on “The Commute, some answers to the questions you never asked.

  1. Could I add that coming out of lockdown can be as hard for an assistance dog as it is for their human. Went to a fundraiser last week for Canine Partners (my brother has MS and his dog is from them) and learnt that some puppies who had started training got too used to being alone with their puppy parents and lost socialising skills. Other dogs found it really hard to come out of lockdown and commuting again is one of the biggest hurdles for them – so well done Ziggy for bringing this to people’s attention.
    PS Nice to get an “All Around Ziggy” email again and all best wishes to you and Richard


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