WELCOME TO HACHIKO!
Why and how a dog can be of assistance. 

HACHIKO OWP

educates assistance dogs for people with motor disabilities or suffering from epilepsy. We use the age-old bond between dogs and humans for that worthy cause.
Both service dogs for handlers with motor disabilities and seizure dogs for people suffering from epilepsy are specifically trained to enable their handlers to perform tasks that were difficult or virtually impossible before. Moreover, assistance dogs open the door towards a more active participation in every day life.
Whatever its task, the assistance dog stimulates the handler’s independence and self-reliance. And there is more: by its presence, he assistance dog offers comfort and support and enhances the handler’s quality of life. Thus, people do not only enlarge their scope, but also enjoy more social contacts and (re)integrate easier.

Hachiko was the faithful Akita of a Japanese university professor. For years, he arrived at the station exactly on time to await his master's commuter train and return home together.
After his master had died, Hachiko kept coming to the station for ten years before walking home again, sad and alone. After Hachiko's death, a statue was erected outside the Shibuya railroad station in Tokyo in honour of his loyalty. Hachiko was the perfect example of the bond that can exist between animals and humans. In Dutch, his name is used as an acronym for the training centre. 

The different phases in the education

- At the age of about 7 weeks, the pups (mostly Labradors and Golden Retrievers) are tested and placed into the care of a foster family that ensures the dog’s basic education. In the course of the following 16 months, the foster families and their pups regularly attend our training sessions.

- Subsequently, the dogs stay at the Hachiko Centre for another 6 months to be daily trained and prepared for their specific future tasks.

- In the last phase, the assistance dogs and their future handlers learn how to work together during booth camp. In the case of service dogs, this takes 11 days. Seizure dogs are usually monitored more closely, as their future tasks depend largely on the epileptic handler’s very specific needs.

- Finally, after 2 years of intensive training, the assistance dogs are officially handed to their new masters by their respective foster families. Our foster families are all volunteers, although their expenses are fully reimbursed. Their help, especially in puppy socialisation, is indispensable.

Service dogs

Our service dogs know more than 50 different orders. They’re obedient in all circumstances and assist their disabled handlers in all sorts of ways, such as: retrieving dropped items, opening and closing doors, throwing elevator and light switches, assisting the handler during transactions at office windows or counters, alerting other people when help is needed,… And numerous other small tasks that pose a problem for people with disabilities.

Seizure dogs

Seizure response dogs are trained to provide essential help (mostly) immediately after a seizure, f.i. by activating an alarm, by waking the person, by retrieving the telephone and/or medication. They can also help to avoid dangerous circumstances and assist in crossing the street safely or keep a safe distance from river banks or cliffs.
Some dogs turn out to be seizure alert dogs: they sense an oncoming seizure and warn their master in some way or other.

For what type of handlers?

Service dogs are educated for people with motor disabilities wanting to enlarge their independence through the assistance of a skilled dog.
Seizure dogs are trained for dog lovers suffering from medically diagnosed epilepsy who, in spite of medication and/or other treatments, still experience at least one severe fit a month.
The extent to which a trained dog can effectively offer assistance as well as the handler’s capability to look after a dog are important selection criteria.

How much does it all cost?

Before a fully educated assistance dog can be officially handed to its future master, it has cost our non-profit organisation some € 20.100 (purchase and education of the young puppies, veterinary expenses, follow-up…).
At present, Hachiko still gets most of its resources from donations and sponsoring which, together with the support of a lot of enthusiasts, enables us to attribute the assistance dogs free of charges.

How can you help?

- Buy and/or sell our promotional material.
- Participate in activities organised by or for Hachiko.
- Any donation into our account number: BE96 0681 0525 2505 will be gladly accepted. You can even donate on a monthly basis via a direct debit instruction.
- Tell your family, friends and acquaintances about assistance dogs and convince them to support us.

The Belgian Ministry of Finance officially recognises Hachiko to be an organisation supportive of people with disabilities.
DONATIONS OF € 40 OR MORE ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE!
Support us by paying € 20,00 (or more) a year and receive our quarterly “HHH-GAZET” Magazine

Every last Saturday of the month: Hachiko’s Service Dog Café!
Join us for a drink and a friendly chat! We welcome you at the training centre as from 7 p.m.

YOU CAN HELP ASSISTANCE DOGS PERFORM WELL, BEHAVE WELL AND FEEL GOOD!

These dogs love to work for their handlers because they are always rewarded when behaving well. In spite of what can be severe physical limitations, the handlers reward their dogs mostly with their voice and with cuddles. It’s important that assistance dogs are not rewarded “for free” by other people and that (only) the handler’s cuddles remain appreciated as being the nicest in the entire world. This is the only way to guarantee the continuing unique bonding between dog and handler. It’s those bonds that mean a world of difference to so many people.
Please remember that these dogs have been intensely trained, and that the handlers have gone through a lot to “deserve” their assistance dogs.

We are sure that you can understand and respect all this. So please, do not call, cuddle or feed assistance dogs. You might distract them from their work.


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