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A best friend

I write in response to your article about the school that is refusing to allow an assistance dog to accompany a pupil to class.

As someone who has an assistance dog, I think that this is disgraceful. I got my dog, 'Bart', from Irish Dogs for the Disabled last April.

Since I got Bart, my life has been transformed. Bart helps me to walk. He also does lots of other things for me such as picking up different items that I drop, opening and closing doors and even taking off my socks.

I am currently studying to be a Home Economics and Irish teacher in St Angela's College in Sligo. Bart comes to college with me every day. The college has been very welcoming.

Bart helps me to get around the college campus and to climb up and down stairs. He also comes to lectures with me where he lies quietly at my feet, waiting to be told what to do.

Without Bart college would be much more difficult. When Bart is with me I can relax as I know that he is there to help me when I need him.

Yes, I also have an assistant who I could not do without. However, the one thing she cannot do is help me walk.

In a few weeks' time, I will be heading out on teaching practice, where I will be spending a month teaching Irish and Home Economics in Adamstown Community College in Lucan, Co Dublin.

The school has been very welcoming towards both myself and Bart. Bart will be coming to school with me every day, where he will be helping me in the classroom and also to get between classes.

Without Bart, I would be in a wheelchair full-time. No school should be allowed to deny someone something that can help so much and make such a difference to their quality of life.

Elizabeth McNicholas

Lucan, Co Dublin