reposted from an online story by CALLIE WATSON The Advertiser on September 22, 2013 8:42PM
Paramedic Simon Cradock looks for a spot in his ambulance for Tango the guide dog.
DOG safety restraints will be installed in South Australian ambulances to help paramedics cope with the increasing number of patients who rely on the help of canines.
In what is believed to be an Australian first, SA Ambulance officials have started liaising with industry leaders, such as Guide Dogs SA, to work out the best way to transport patients – from disabled children to blind men and women – and their four-legged companions safely.
SA Ambulance acting operations manager Chris Towie said different tethering options were being considered.
“It’s all about talking with the organisations to work out what will work best, from what length the tethering should be to where it will be in the fleet,” he said.
“There’s no doubt we’re getting more patients who have an assistance dog of some type, from people with diabetes to children with autism. To leave them (their dog) behind can be really distressing, but at the same time we’ve got to make sure they’re safe and not in the way of paramedics.
“Ideally I’d like to see it happen within the next few months. It won’t be all of our fleet to begin with, but I’d like to think that’s what it will reach.”
The move has been welcomed by Assistance Dogs Australia, which places dogs with children and adults with disabilities.
“Anything that can help make sure they’re with their owners when they need to be is great,” she spokeswoman Amanda Hope said.
Guide Dogs SA has about 40 dogs working in SA and another 20 puppies training. At the Royal Society for the Blind, there are 54 working dogs and 56 in training.
RSPCA Animal Operations executive manager Kerriann Campbell said the organisation sees a handful of dogs injured because they are not properly restrained in a car.
“We have seen a few cases of dogs jumping out of car windows and injuring themselves,” she said. “It’s much more common that they are hit while trying to cross a road, when they’re actually outside,” he said