Golden Guide Lucky a first in China

0013729e4abe08d3ebd20e.jpgIt is amazing that some things that we so easily take for granted are not available to many other nations in the world. It has taken over 20 years for China to have Guide Dogs despite there being over 12 million people there suffering from some type of visual impairment.

Sadly, the country does not allow open access for larger dogs such as Goldens so Ping Yali, shown here, cannot take full advantage of Lucky’s abilities.

For example, he cannot enter public places. And the city of Beijing does not allow him taken outside unless he is in the company of an able-bodied (rather than blind) person.

Lucky guides Ping across roads, not by recognizing the color of traffic lights, but by watching traffic flows. Lucky recognized the word “Gongyuan”, which means park, after being shown it only a couple of times.

Golden retrievers are considered one of the best breeds for guide dogs because of their intelligence and friendly disposition. The Dalian Medical University Center, where Lucky was trained, was established two years ago. It is now training some 30 canines for visually impaired athletes to raise awareness about facilities for the blind. It takes eight months and costs about 100,000 yuan ($13,500) to train a guide dog.

Ping’s first exposure to guide dogs was at the New York Paralympics, where many blind athletes from European countries and the United States had their own seeing dogs.

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