The geographies of care and training in the development of assistance dog partnerships

Arathoon, Jamie (2022) The geographies of care and training in the development of assistance dog partnerships. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Human-assistance-dog partnerships form a significant phenomena that have been overlooked in both animal geographies and disability geographies. By focusing on one Assistance Dogs UK (ADUK) charity, ‘Dog A.I.D’., a charity that helps physically disabled and chronically ill people to train their own pets to be assistance dogs, I detail the intimate entangled lifeworlds that humans and dogs occupy. In doing so, I also dialogue between the sub-disciplinary fields of animal geographies and disability geographies, by exploring two broad thematic areas – embodiment and care. As such, this thesis examines the geographies of assistance dog partnership, the care and training practices involved, the benefits and challenges of sharing a lifeworld with a different species, and the changing relationship from a human-pet bond to a human-assistance-dog partnership.
Drawing on lived experience and representations of assistance dog partnerships gathered through qualitative (and quantitative) research methods, including a survey, semi-structured interviews (face-to-face, online, and telephone), video ethnography, and magazine analysis, I contribute to research on the assistance dog partnerships and growing debates around the more-than-human nature of care. The ethnomethodological approach to exploring how training occurs between disabled human and assistance dog is also noteworthy as it centres the lively experiences of practice at work between species.
The thesis is organised around interconnected themes: the intimate worlds of assistance dog partnerships, working bodies, and caring relations. These thematics allow for a geographical interpretation into the governance, spatial organisation, and representations of dog assistance partnerships. I also explore the training cultures of Dog A.I.D. whilst also spotlighting the lived experiences of training through the early stages of ‘socialisation’, ‘familiarisation’, ‘life skills training’, through to ‘task work’. Finally, the thesis focuses on the practices of care that characterise the assistance dog partnership, showing how care is provided and received by both human and nonhuman. I pay attention to the complex potentiality of the partnership, illustrating how dogs are trained to assist, but also how dogs appear to embody lively, agentic, moments of care. The thesis contributes original work which speaks to animal and disability geographies and attends to the multiple geographies of care-full cross-species lives.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Parr, Professor Hester and Philo, Professor Chris
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82798
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2022 09:43
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 16:38
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82798

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