Next week is Guide Dog Awareness week, and includes International Guide Dog Day on Wednesday 30th April.
Guide Dog Awareness week is time to celebrate and recognise the important role Guide Dogs have in the lives of their blind or vision impaired handlers. It is also a great opportunity to educate the public about the wonderful work Guide dogs do and how they can help dogs and owners be a safe and effective working team.
This year the focus is on asking dog owners to keep their dogs on lead and not let them distract a working Guide Dog. Here is an excerpt from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT website about the ‘Take the Lead’ campaign. Visit http://www.guidedogs.com.au/education-and-resources/take-the-lead to learn more about the campaign.
“Guide Dog Awareness Week celebrates the vital role Guide Dogs play in enabling people with impaired vision to get around safely and independently. This year, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is launching a new education campaign called ‘Take the lead’ aimed at creating a safer community for Guide Dogs and their handlers who are blind or vision impaired. A new survey has revealed that working Guide Dogs are experiencing high levels of attacks and distraction problems from other dogs, causing them and their handlers anxiety and compromising their safety and independence. To address this issue, a number of educational initiatives and media opportunities are being undertaken across NSW and the ACT throughout Guide Dog Awareness Week. These include the release of a new TV advertisement and the distribution of free dog leads displaying ‘I’m taking the lead to support Guide Dogs’ to schools and councils. So, remember if you see a working Guide Dog, take the lead – keep your dog on a leash and under control and give the Guide Dog and its handler space so they can safely reach their destination.
How you can take the lead
- Please keep your pet dog on a leash and under control when out and about
- If you see a loose dog, please alert your local council
- If you see a working Guide Dog, please give it and its handler space
- Please don’t pat, feed or otherwise distract a working Guide Dog. A well-intentioned pat can undo months of training.
- When approaching a Guide Dog team with your dog, please clearly introduce yourself to the person and say you have a dog with you.
I have had a couple of bad experiences with off lead or uncontrolled dogs which I will share in another post. Thankfully none of them have had impacted Wiley’s confidence or ability to do his job. Unfortunately not all my Guide Dog handler friends have been so lucky. It is an important education campaign that has my full support.
Here are a couple of links to media releases or events being held by various Guide Dogs organisations around Australia.