As the COVID lockdown loomed, I sped out into the back country of New Zealand to one of the largest sheep and beef stations in the North Island. There, I was met by a woman and a dog. A dog named Flash.
A dog who will, hopefully, become my “helper dog”.
I call him my “helper dog”, because here in New Zealand we have very strict legislation about what can be classified an Assistance or Service Dog. Despite the training he will receive, he cannot be classified as an Assistnace Dog until one of the named charities certifies him. There is one named charity that certifies owner trained dogs, and they are not taking new applicants at this time.
But that’s okay. I don’t need him certified for him to help me around the home, or at work, or on the farm. I just need him to be gentle, willing, and trainable.
After two days with him I can confirm he has all of that, in absolute spades. He is a collie cross, a purpose bred heading dog, bred to stare at sheep until they move. He just … didn’t do sheep. At all. So at the grand age of one, he was fired from basic training, and passed over to me.
It’s early days yet, but I am cautiously optimistic that he will fit in with the rest of my hairy horde and complement our lives.