Kirby, 23 (dog years), QLD.

“I wish the government knew how hard it is to be an Assistance Dog when people are constantly calling out to me, gesturing to me, patting me, and stopping my handler to talk about me. I know I’m really cute, but when my vest is on I need to be focused on my handler. People distracting me can put her life at risk!

I have to meet strict guidelines for my training, and even once I’ve passed my Public Access Test (which I sit next month!) and get rid of my L Plates, my handler will still have to spend lots of time explaining to people and businesses that I have a legal right to be there.

I have lots of time off-duty to just have fun and be a dog, but I love my job and while my vest is on I need people to treat me the same as they would a piece of medical equipment. I should be able to go places without being stared at, stopped by strangers, or yelled at.”