On the World Day of the Guide Dogs for blind, we show you how to prepare a guidedog for this job and how much support they mean to a visually impaired person.
27 April is a very important date for me, because I go everywhere with the help of my dog. The two lives, the one I live now with the dog and the one I lived before, are incomparable. Thanks to the dog, I get lot of confidence, I am much braver with him, I can go anywhere, even to unknown places. I am more confident to ask for help, I am more open.
– said Nóra Varga, who got her second guide dog from our Foundation.
“I’ve been doing this job for 30 years; I always start to train the next dog with a renewed energy. I like observing as he gets better and better and how he helps and opens the world when he becomes a guide dog for a visually impaired person. Who can go to more places, we can see more happiness in his face, likes participating in public transportation, becomes closer to the sighted society, the dog helps him to integrate, to find job, so opens the world’s gate to him” – said Mária Nyíriné Kovács, the trainer of the Baráthegyi School for Guide Dogs.
Varázs arrived to her trainer, Mária Nyíriné Kovács, at the beginning of April and they started to get to know each other. Varázs has two classmates, Vackor and Uno, whom with she became friends quickly. As always, in the morning of our meeting as well, they started their day with running and playing together.
“Varázs just getting to know the guide dog’s world. She is very cute, has a strong desire to comply, she has a kind of “humanish” personality, she likes being with me. She always greets me with a happy wagging tail. She is an obedient dog, whom easy to live with, so she is going to be a wonderful mate for a visually impaired person in 6-8 months” – told Mária Nyíriné Kovács.
This time as well, Varázs happily gets into her harness, and goes with Maria, who praises and motivates her student with treats all the way long. They show us, how a guide dog’s training starts. They practice on leash, they stop at the pavement before stepping on or off, they cross the road. At the end, they search for stairs, check how Varázs stops on the top and the bottom of the stairs.
We visited Tango and his trainer after Varázs. Essencially, Tango is a “ready” guide dog, at this stage he practices with his trainer as long as the Foundation will find the person whom with, he will fit perfectly. Orsolya Látrányi, the Foundation’s guide dog trainer explained what they usually do after running and playing.
“Tango’s training has finished; therefore, he is on that level, that I practice with him by using the harness with handle and I cover my eyes. He needs to pull and show the directions, we cross the streets, walking on stairs, he shows everything to me through the harness. Practicing by covered eyes is needed, as we move with less confidence, we walk in a different way, such as a visually impaired person and it is important for the dog to gain experience this way, to enable him to sense this and feel more responsibility for his owner” – said Orsolya Látrányi.
Please support the training of the guide dogs by offering the 1% of your tax! Our 1% tax number is: 18449149–1–05
How much does a guide dog cost?
There are more guide dogs needed in Hungary. There are lot of people waiting for this loyal mate at our Foundation. On average, there are 40-50 people on our waiting list. At this stage there are 12 dogs in training and according to our plan there will be 30
puppies born this year, whom can be guide dogs in the following years.
All expenses, covering the lifetime of a guide dog is more than 5 million Forints.
This period of time is about ten years. Expenses of covering a lifetime includes: breeding dogs, breeding, raising up the puppies, veterinary costs, supply, facility, training (1,5 million for job costs), training the owner, handing over the dog, examination, follow up
and aftercare for 10 years, replacement of the facilities, extra costs of veterinary care of the aging dog, costs around the retirement, overhead expense, using of vehicles, etc.
This makes the total expenses of 10 years more than 5 million Forints.
Our Foundation raises the amount of money needed for the trainings by the 1% tax offers and donations.
Torma is a kind, cuddly dog who has been with Nóra Varga for 4 months. The yellow Labrador is her second guide dog. They are currently preparing for their traffic safety exam, which is going to be in May. Torma likes coming-and-going, is very active, and
exactly matching with Nora, who likes walking on a long way to her work, therefore the foundation thought they will be a good couple. They also match with each other that they both like to go fast.
During the traffic safety exam, in the presence of an independent examination board of experts, the guide dog and his owner have to prove that they are able to participate in the traffic safely. This time it is decided that they are suitable for independent participation in the traffic, therefore it is a great stake. The owner has to draw a route among the three known route options. Nora showed us her route from Bikás Park to West (Nyugati) Train station. They went to the elevator of the metro station; they did not
use the escalator because it is harmful for the dog’s nail. Torma was confident in leading her in the underpass, he rested and observed in the subway car, and then in the Kálvin square he showed us something interesting which was taught by Nora. She asked Torma by one word, to lead her to a bakery they visit regularly. The dog understood it, and led her there immediately. Nóra bought a coffee, then when they moved on, her dog responded well to the instruction “litter bin”.
“It is very important, in case of participating in traffic with a guide dog, that the route must be known by the owner, such as when and where to turn, where is the pedestrian cross, when a bus stop must be searched by the dog. The guide dog is concentrating on
my safety during going along on this route, that I shouldn’t hit anything, or should find those objects I mentioned before” – said Nóra Varga.
On the occasion of the world day of the guide dogs, we wish all visually impaired owner and their guide dog happy years together.