Income assistance clients in Nova Scotia who rely on a guide dog will receive more money to help meet the care needs of their trusted companions. Effective May 1, the provincial guide dog allowance for income assistance clients will go up, from $60 per month to $90. The allowance will also include an extra $300 per year to cover routine veterinary exams and care. “Guide dogs provide a valuable service to our visually impaired clients,” said Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse. “This increase will ensure our clients are better able to meet the needs of their service animals so that they can safely and properly perform their duties.” Nova Scotia’s new guide dog allowance will be one of the highest in Canada. Working guide dogs require quality food, monthly grooming, regular flea and heart worm treatments, yearly checkups, vaccinations and other occasional needs. Because guide dogs regularly visit public places, handlers have an obligation to insure that their service animals maintain the highest possible standards with respect to grooming and medical care. The department reviewed the current rates, consulted with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and decided that an increase was needed to help clients meet the care needs of their guide dogs. “CNIB applauds the province of Nova Scotia for increasing the assistance provided to individuals who rely on guide dogs,” said Lui Greco, CNIB’s Atlantic Canada government relations director. “This change in the level of support available to clients of the Department of Community Services will be better able to ensure their service animals receive appropriate grooming and medical attention.” CNIB receives yearly grant funding from the Department of Community Services. In 2011-12, more than $500,000 was provided to support programs and services that benefit people who are visually impaired across the province.