A report by Dr Hannah Reuter.
On 14.03.2022 at 12:15 p.m., Mayor Keller declares the city of Düsseldorf an assistance dog-friendly municipality. In the dignified atmosphere of a venerable town hall hall, Dr Keller, Hannah and Mr Kucyk, member of the Council for People with Disabilities and long-time guide dog owner, explain the purpose of the campaign. The press representatives present did not make full use of their opportunities to ask questions on the spot, but during the photo session in front of the town hall some good conversations were initiated.
The city’s press office summarises the core theses in a nice video.
And Antenne Düsseldorf also takes the opportunity to collect beautiful sound bites – and brings the topic right into the local news!
The news is also spreading on social media:
But that was not the beginning: The mission “Düsseldorf assistance dog friendly” starts at 9:00 a.m. with a welcome coffee at the Carls Hotel – because Juli and Samu, together with assistant Julia, have come all the way from Cologne to Düsseldorf to support Hannah and Daika on the action day.
First we walk to the city museum.
There, the Pfotenpiloten team meets reinforcements from the ranks of the city administration: the deputy head of the office Ms Müller, Ms Kieninger, who wonderfully supervised and accompanied the implementation of the concept “Assistance Dog Friendly Municipality” and the preparations for the action day, and Mr Meyer, photographer of the press office.
In the City Museum, the deputy director Ms Kleinbongartz and Ms Wilken from the public relations department are waiting for us. In the City Museum, accessibility is a top priority anyway – assistance dogs are of course welcome, reports Ms Kleinbongartz. We are happy to present the “Assistance dog welcome” door sticker – and Samu with the corresponding poster!
In front of the town hall we meet Mr. Kloft and Mr. Traber from the WIG (Werbe- und Interessengemeinschaft Gerresheim). The WIG will not only distribute stickers and information material to its 120 members, but will also support Pfotenpiloten with a collection campaign. We would be delighted to get to know them for the first time during a short stroll through the city and would like to thank them in advance for their commitment!
Then it’s off to the town hall – and there the press conference described above is not the last item on the agenda either. Immediately afterwards, we are invited to the Disability Council to present the campaign. Until that happens, we have had a lot of different contributions from the field of inclusion/accessibility working on us. Our presentation is the last one of this session and therefore has to be short, but it is received with interest.
After a short breather, food and dog walk break, we turn back to the cultural sector. Press spokeswoman Martina Aschmies and sales manager David Eberhard welcome us to the Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf. They quickly convince us that assistance dogs are really welcome here too. After a short tour of the house together, we try out in the hall where the best places for assistance dogs might be. Daika und Samu sind mit der Platzwahl sichtlich einverstanden. But unfortunately the evening’s event is already fully booked… Instead, the Schauspielhaus is donating us tickets for the premiere of “Zauberberg” – so that at least Juli and Samu will be welcomed back to the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus this week!
Even though our animal expedition participants still want to explore Düsseldorf’s green spaces, we bipeds are a bit tired at the end of this fulfilling day. The way back to the hotel clearly seems too long. Driving a taxi with two big, black assistance dogs? Considering all the refusals that all assistance dog owners experience in their daily lives, this sounds like a very ambitious undertaking. But it is the “Düsseldorf assistance dog friendly” campaign day – and Düsseldorf does not disappoint us on this evening! The very first car in line on the famous Kö willingly takes us on board!
All’s well that ends well – and just keep up the good work Düsseldorf!
The “Assistance Dog Welcome” campaign was made possible by funding from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and the Aktion Mensch.