In 2016 I was provided with an assistance dog, he was 6 months old and learning to become the most resilient and professional dog that I know and you will know as Ziggy @AssstanceZiggy on social media.
Why do I need Ziggy?
This is always a good question to ask, firstly because I don’t have a visible disability and secondly because since getting Ziggy my disability although ever present is managed.
What is the invisible disability ?
In 2009 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) , this was as a result of Military deployment to Iraq in 2003. This disability drove me to the point of contemplating suicide. Fortunately I overcame this and it has given me the drive and determination to turn my negative experiences into positive ones.
Not Just A Dog?
#NotJustADog is a campaign started in December 2019, as a result of multiple significant refusals into shops and restaurants, it extended beyond this to 10 separate incidents where I was challenged either inappropriately or accidentally by staff or security.
It became apparent that companies allow assistance dogs into their business however there is a gap in either education and awareness of staff and security.
#NotJustADog will be a multi phase approach to make changes around accessibility and prevent discrimination . Phase one is aimed at a social media campaign to get the conversation started. Around the UK there are a huge number of people and companies who are likely to be exposed to assistance dogs and their service users. By engaging with these businesses we will encourage them to not only look at their policies but to engage with their staff.
Follow the campaign on social media @assistanceziggy