Assistance dogs trust internationally reaccredited

Lachlan with Lady, a graduated Assistance Dog . Photo: ADNZT.

Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust - ADNZT, an assistance dog program dedicated to assisting people with disabilities in New Zealand, is pleased to announce that it has achieved reaccreditation by Assistance Dogs International - ADI.

ADI is the leading authority in the Assistance Dogs industry. It establishes and promotes standards of excellence in all areas of assistance dog acquisition, training and partnership.

"ADNZT's mission is to provide purpose-bred and trained Assistance Dogs for New Zealanders living with a variety of disabilities.," says an ADNZT spokesperson. "Seventy-two per cent of clients are children and young adults under 20 years old, 50 per cent of whom have autism and multiple disabilities."

The organisation has Government-granted public rights access for their training and working dogs under the Human Rights Act 1993 and Dog Control Act 1996, allowing clients greater access to their community and facilities.

Whitney – graduated and working with a client. Photo: ADNZT.

Since its foundation in 2008, ADNZT's vital service has continued to address the need for individuals and families living with a disability to better integrate into their community, have access to more facilities and opportunities, and be able to function in public spaces without judgement or difficulty.

It also addresses the need for individuals living with a disability to gain more independence and for children to access vital development and education opportunities.

"There is a huge need for the services Assistance Dog New Zealand Trust provides," says ADNZT Board chair Sinead Horgan. Sinead is also the mother of ADNZT's client Lachlan.

'My son Lachlan has cerebral palsy and autism. He is awkward on his feet, non-verbal and gets very anxious around people. Assistance Dog Lady has attracted both adults and children to Lachlan, asking to pat his dog and asking him questions about her role."

Sinead says that Lachlan went from being the outsider to the centre of attention.

"With that, his confidence grew over time. Now Lachlan will happily go anywhere with us as a family – in fact helping with the weekly shop is one of his favourite things to do. He has the confidence to engage with both children and adults anywhere we go.

"For the wider community, they get to engage with a disabled child in a way they never did before and understand more about how to communicate. Disability is less frightening. This is only one tiny aspect of the life-changing impact Lady has had on our lives.”

Kowhai – currently in formal training. Photo: ADNZT

Once accredited, a program becomes a member of ADI. Member programs must complete a reaccreditation every five years to comply with ADI's Standards of Practice.

ADI accreditation is a peer-review process conducted by a trained ADI assessor over a period of two to four days. Currently there are 144 ADI accredited assistance dog programs in the world and this is the second time Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust has achieved accreditation.

ADNZT receives no Government funding and relies on the generosity of New Zealanders to deliver their vital work. Each dog costs $75,000 to breed, develop, train and support throughout its working life. To support the placement of more life-changing dogs, visit today to make a donation or sponsor a puppy.

Assistance Dogs International

Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is a worldwide coalition of non-profit organizations that raise, train and place assistance dogs. The mission of ADI is to foster a collaborative global community dedicated to the highest standards of excellence for the assistance dog industry. For more information, visit or contact Chris Diefenthaler, ADI's Executive Director at or +1-419-350-5788

Alfie – young puppy on the development programme. Photo: ADNZT

Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust

Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust (ADNZT) is a registered charitable trust, providing trained dogs to clients with any disability.

"We are committed to providing a quality service which evaluates each applicant individually and provides assessment, training and follow-up to each individual client's specific needs. We provide our service to people with a wide range of disabilities," says Sinead.

For more information, visit or contact Alex Williams, Fundraising and Communications Manager at or 0212464722


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