Could this be a sign that things are changing for dogs and doglovers in China? I hope so!
Thanks to ShanghaiDaily.com for this article.
Guide dogs give sight to the blind
By Dong Zhen 2007-12-3
SHANGHAI’S first guide dogs could be with their new owners after February next year, said authorities for the pathfinding program yesterday.
There are about 158,000 visually impaired people living in Shanghai and a plan to introduce guide dogs was launched in March.
The first batch of six labrador pups from the United Kingdom, all aged about three months, were allocated to local families in March for the first phase of their training – getting accustomed to everyday family life.
The house-training stage was completed in late September and the dogs then got professional training at the Nanjing Research Institute of Police Dogs.
Funded by Shanghai Disabled Person’s Federation, the local guide dog training program gets technical support from the police institute while the Japan Guide Dog Association is also giving advice to their Chinese counterparts. Two of the labradors were withdrawn from the program after failing to meet the required standard, said an official with the Nanjing research institute yesterday at a meeting with Japanese counterparts.
“We need laws and a complete mechanism to be established for the training and effective use of guide dogs.
“We still have a very long way to go in this field in China but it’s good to see authorities are already making efforts,” said Zhou Yong, an official with Shanghai Association for the Blind yesterday.