Singapore Man Wins Award For Efforts to Help Blind Humans with Guide Dogs
Here's happy barks for Kua Cheng Hock!!!
Thanks to Channelnewsasia.com for this article.
Man wins award for efforts to use guide dogs to help the blind
By Ng Baoying, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 08 July 2007
SINGAPORE : Over the past three years, one man has been on a mission to gain access for guide dogs for the blind access to shopping centres and on public transportation.
He succeeded but only after approaching close to 30 organisations.
For his efforts, he received the Meritorious Service Award by Alexandra Hospital, given out as part of the recent National Congress of Optometry and Opticianry for eye care professionals in Singapore.
Blind from a young age, 52-year-old Kua Cheng Hock knows how challenging being blind can be in a world designed by, and for, sighted people.
When he got Kendra, a Labrador guide dog, from the Guide Dogs of America Foundation two years ago, his quality of life improved immensely.
Mr Kua says: "After having the dog come and work with me in Singapore I found that my activity level has increased, and I'm more willing to get out and about even though I've already been leading a very active life. For blind women, they will be more willing to go out so they won't have to ask strangers for help.
"You don't even know who you're asking. Making yourself seemingly vulnerable. Already I know of many colleagues of mine who can get from point A to point B by themselves. But a lot of them stop there. Get from home to work and work to home. And why go out extra and unnecessarily. Half the time you're asking for help, having to backtrack when you get lost. But with a guide dog, the anxiety level is reduced."
But while some members of the public are receptive to having dogs in their midst, others are less accommodating.
Mr Kua says: "It's the restaurant owners that are afraid of losing money and business that will keep the guide dog out. I would say that response from taxi drivers are only about 45 to 50 per cent."
Many do not know, for example, that guide dogs are extremely well-behaved.
Take Kendra, who was trained ever since she was two months old.
With her special leash on, she switches on her professional side.
No matter how much this reporter tried to distract her, she never faltered.
So to help the public understand more about dogs like her, Mr Kua has created the Guide Dogs Foundation of the Blind.
Mr Kua says: "A lot of them don't even know that the amendments to the NEA Public Health Acts, which prohibits pets in eating places and supermarkets, have been modified or amended to allow guide dogs in. So there's a lot of public awareness and works to be done."