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Assistance dogs have their day in Ballarat


Labrador assistance dog sitting in front of decorative wing design on a ground level sign.

Ballarat’s guide and assistance dogs now have a refuge in the CBD, thanks to the recent opening of Ballarat’s first Assistance Dog Relief Station.

Adjoining the popular Central Square Shopping Centre, the relief station offers visitors access to shade, seating, a water fountain, rubbish bins and an all-weather surface that’s perfect no matter the time of year.

With more than 60 guide and assistance dogs registered in the City of Ballarat, the need for a dedicated space was becoming increasingly important to support community members of all abilities.

Unlike regular dogs, assistance dogs cannot share a water bowl, due to the risk of catching diseases. While they can toilet on command, cities and town centres do not typically offer many safe and socially acceptable spaces for them to do so.

The result is often owners needing to cut short their visits to shared urban spaces such as shopping malls or having to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort towards planning their visits.

Unfortunately, this can often lead to owners being forced to carry portable ‘lawn’ strips for their dogs and then needing to hunt for appropriate places to dispose of them. This makes what should have been an enjoyable trip into a minor ordeal.

By offering a designated and comfortable space for owners and their dogs, the Relief Station will make the Ballarat CBD more accessible and build further awareness of the support that owners and their animals both need and deserve.

Delivery of the Assistance Dog Relief Station was backed by the Living Local Fund and forms part of the government’s record investment of more than $41 billion into rural and regional Victoria over the past decade.

For more information, visit Living Local Regional Fund.