Guide Dog Trainer Fighting COVID Gets Support from Visually Impaired Friends

Brigitta and Gabor, who both have guide dogs, have found a friend for life when they met their dogs’ trainer, Darinka. Darinka is currently isolating at home after testing positive for the corona virus and is anxiously awaiting the moment she can get back to work and see her trainee dogs. Brigitta and Gabor decided to send her a video message to cheer her up. It is not uncommon for our dog trainers and their clients to form close friendships and help each other through difficult times like the pandemic.

Brigitta and Gabor have been friends since childhood, when they met in the Special School for the Visually Impaired. When Brigitta decided she wanted a guide dog, she met dog handler Darinka. Darinka fulfilled her childhood dream when she became a guide dog trainer. Brigitta has had multiple guide dogs – all trained by Darinka – when her friend, Gabor recently decided he wanted a guide dog too, after having used a white cane for nearly 40 years.

‘My first guide dog was trained by Darinka, and we clicked instantly’ said Brigitta Berta smiling. Brigitta, who works as a therapeutic and sports masseuse, has a newly trained guide dog called Morze. She has been greatly supported by her dog’s trainer Darinka, when she and her dog faced difficulties and thus formed a life-long friendship. 

‘Darinka has a great sense of humour, we laughed a lot during the training period,’ Brigitta’s friend Gabor said. ‘She can be really down to earth and funny not just all serious, which is great during an exam situation.’ said Gabor Orosz, whose guide dog Kapitany was also trained by Darinka. Gabor works as a Swedish masseuse in Budapest.  
‘If I need to call her at 11pm, I can,’ Brigitta added. ‘She is like a sister to me. Now that she has COVID, it is difficult because we can’t meet up, but we speak on the phone every day. It’s important she feels that we are here for her.’

‘I really appreciate Brigi’s friendship,’ Darinka said. ‘I feel she is more family that just a friend.’ Darinka can’t wait to get over the virus and get back to work, and seeing her friends and their guide dogs. 

Our guide dog trainers are in daily contact with their visually impaired clients in case a situation develops where their professional help is needed. The Barathegyi Foundation also supports its clients financially in case the guide dogs need medical care or help with transportation. The close friendship between Darinka, Brigitta and Gabor is a beautiful example of how people support each other through difficult times like the corona virus pandemic.