We’ve all heard and seen guide dogs for the blind roam the streets as they faithfully guide their masters around in a manner that puts even a filial child to shame, but there is a new breed of dogs that will definitely be a boon to the disabled. These ‘assistance dogs’ have gone through a special kind of training that enables them to withdraw money from ATMs for their disabled masters without paws-ing for thought. I suppose this system will only work if the ATM machine is standardized across all banks, but different banks tend to have a slight variation when it comes to the user interface. Guess you can now add ‘ATM literate’ to the long list of achievements on an assistant dog these days.
Charity Canine Partners are largely responsible for training these dogs to help owners who are unable to stretch far enough to work an ATM. Although there are disabled friendly ATMs available today (most of which are lowered versions of a standard one, which could still pose a problem), having a dog put in the card and retrieve your money is definitely easier. All the owner needs to do is remember the PIN and punch in the amount desired, letting Lassie do the rest.
A total of 30 dogs are trained each year, although Canine Partners hopes to double that figure next year. Each pooch requires two years of training before they become proficient at it (that is 14 years in dog years), where during that duration they also learn how to perform other household tasks such as loading the washing and picking up items from store shelves.