INTRODUCING ELI AKA LORD ELI, FATTY, BAT-DOG
Author – Elmiri Fox
Eli was first labelled as an Assistance Dog in Training in April 2017.
Although before this he was already going everywhere with me that allowed dogs and I had started doing specific assistance dog training with him. This included reinforcing a natural response he had to my anxiety, shaping certain behaviours to be more acceptable in public and introducing a controlled greet.
I was very new to owner training assistance dogs and didn’t know about Facebook groups at this time, specifically UK groups.
My knowledge was entirely based on working with a Psychiatric Service Dog company temporarily stationed in the U.K.
By November 2017 I was labelling him as a Service Dog without ‘in training’ labels. “over 6 years of bonding, exposure, socialising & training meant he was already working at a fully trained level.
Having suffered with long term mental health conditions he had been – unknowingly to myself – working alongside me as an aid, helping me cope with my own health conditions.
At the time I had no distinction between the term service dog and assistance dog in the U.K. – to my knowledge they meant the same thing. To this day, I still don’t have an issue with the term service dog being used, although I encourage people to use the term assistance dog for ease of consistency.
It’s now late 2019 as I write this. Eli has worked faithfully for me this entire time. He has been on holiday with me to Scotland, doctors appointments, hospital appointments, car breakdowns, car accidents, horse yards, cafes and restaurants, hotels, Jiu-Jitsu competitions and even came with me as I competed one day myself. He’s also been to airports when picking up or dropping people off.
There are many a days where I breakdown in tears over the thought of losing this amazing boy. He is well and truly my best friend. He’d do anything I ask of him (except get on an escalator haha). He lays with me in bed all day with no complaint. Then run across fields and play fetch like a crazed beast the next.
He has taught my rough collie pup manners and how to respect smaller animals. He also teaches him that no one is better at catching food or toys that he is.
He is the only thing I trust entirely in this world and honestly I don’t know what I will do when he passes.