Utopia, the Unique Guide Dog

Utopia signals when Eszter’s blood-sugar level drops even when she does not notice it.

The unique dog does not leave her until she gets better. But Utopia’s main task is to help Eszter get to her travel destination in a safe way. So they practise a lot.

Dr. Eszter Szabolcsi worked in the field of law and now she is retired. She lives in Nyíregyháza with her husband and her guide dog, Utopia. They used to have a Hungarian vizsla in the garden but she started to get acquainted with a guide dog only not long ago.

Soon she is going to take a road safety exam with the beautiful labrador. At present she is preparing for the exam prescribed by the state with the help of the dog trainer.

Why did Eszter wait for the guide dog?

There are many reasons. “I live in a suburb and when one construction work is over, another one is started immediately. I got a lot of injuries because I stepped into holes. I cannot see anything with one eye and less and less with the other. I cannot have an eye surgery anymore. So I decided to have a companion who can help with travelling. I claimed a guide dog from the foundation four months ago” – said Eszter.

She cannot even recognise the faces of the family members

Our readers might have a lot of questions in connection with sight impairment so we asked Eszter – who lives her life cheerfully – about what she can see and what she cannot.

“If the sunshine strikes me, I cannot see anything. In other cases I can see contours, which can help with orientation; I can walk on the pavement, I can find the pedestrian crossing but I cannot recognise the faces of people even from close distance, not even the faces of my family. I used to read successfully with the help of a magnifier but not anymore and the computer-based text-to-speech programmes are too slow. In the past I could read a thick book in the afternoon because I read fast” – she said.

A Bus Driver is Among the Fans

We were also interested in what Utopia could help Eszter with the best. “People give more attention to me. It happened just a couple of days ago that a bus driver praised me and my dog. He said, “I have never seen such a skilful dog. I cannot believe that the dog can lead you to the door” –  Eszter remembered the case proudly and added that it was not easy to get to the door when she wanted to get off the bus. Sometimes the signal button does not work; she can stand or sit far from the door or there is a big crowd on the bus. The best option for her would be to sit down on the seat which is behind the bus driver at the front of the bus but it is usually occupied.

Utopia can help to avoid the scooters thrown down all over the pavement and it would be difficult for Eszter to notice.

Utopia signals when there is something wrong with the owner

When Eszter was 21 years old, she was diagnosed with diabetes and it is difficult to set the right level. She learnt to live with her illness but she never expected that Utopia would be able to help with her illness.

“When my blood-sugar level drops, Utopia feels it, comes to me and signals that there is something wrong with me. Sometimes I do not know that my blood-sugar level dropped, e.g. when I am in a hurry or when I am delayed and I cannot eat in time. Utopia comes to me, looks at me so I understand that I forgot something. Utopia stays with me as long as I eat something” – Eszter said emotionally.

Eszter’s way of walk sometimes becomes uncertain, usually when her sugar- blood level drops but she can rely on Utopia when it happens. She leans on Utopia a little bit and Utopia waits patiently for Eszter to get some glucose and they can move forward.

We wish good health to Eszter! Good luck to our pair (Eszter and her dog) in the road safety exam.