Guangzhou guide dogs change lives for blind owners | Updated: 2018-04-11 14:40
A trainer and a guide dog enjoy some downtime in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province, April 3, 2018. [Photo/IC]

Qian Xiaohong, running a blind massage parlor in Guangzhou, has taken a new path in life since the beginning of this year. That's when she became the first person served by a guide dog called Duola from a training camp in the city.

"Before Duola came into my life, I went out only with the help of my family," said Qian. "But Duola has changed my life — saving me from taking a taxi, which costs a lot — and become a good partner in my life."

Duola is one of the "graduates" from the first model training base for guide dogs in South China, established in 2015 and located in an island of Haizhu district.

According to the training base director Ming Zihua, from a pup to a qualified guide dog, there are three phases canines should go through. These are fostering in a family, skill straining and joint training with the prospective service recipient. However, if the dog does not pass the test for each phase, it will be weeded out.

The whole training process for a guide dog usually lasts at least two years and costs more than 200,000 yuan($31,861.79), Ming added.

But Qian also faced some difficulties in her new life with Duola. She said that she and Duola had been refused service by public buses and some passers-by like to touch the dog.

"We must know that a guide dog is not a pet, it is working," said Qian.

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