Lovely Lawson, the fox red Labrador, is training to become an assistance dog.
Part of his training is acclimatising to all forms of public transport, including trains, which means that volunteer puppy socialisers regularly travel with the young pups in preparation for their noble career.
Northern has stepped in to offer free travel in South Yorkshire for the Sheffield based charity Support Dogs for all of their staff and volunteers to help out with the training process.
The charity trains and provides support with their assistance dog program for children with autism, adults with epilepsy with seizure alert dogs, and adults with a physical disability where a dog will help with everyday life making such a huge difference and enabling owners to lead a more independent life.
Rita Howson, Chief Executive, at Support Dogs said: “From a very early age our dogs need to acclimatise to all kinds of environments including public transport.
“When they qualify as professional service dogs, they will have to be confident and unfazed by the outside world, and in keeping their owners safe and secure.
“Our volunteer puppy socialisers regularly take our young pups out and about on buses, trams and trains, and our trainers do the same with the older trainee dogs, so we’re really very grateful to Northern to allow them to travel free on its local rail network for training purposes.”
Tony Baxter, Regional Director at Northern, said: “At Northern, the communities we serve are always at the heart of everything we do, and we are delighted to be able champion Support Dogs in this way, as well as highlight the fantastic work of the charity.”
“We want to make our trains – and our wider network – as accessible as possible, and this is just one of the ways we are continuing to deliver a Northern that works for everyone and makes a positive difference.”
“In the past 12 months alone, Northern has also introduced an industry leading mobility scooter policy, carried out dozens of station improvements, partnered with Specialist Awareness Services to transform three flagship stations into autism friendly hubs and set up a £250,000 accessibility fund dedicated to empowering older and disabled people to make decisions which will improve the railway.”
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