Guide Dogs in Hong Kong
Did you know that guide dogs, also known as seeing eye dogs, only first appeared in Hong Kong in 1975? However, due to a lack of training resources and dog trainers, guide dogs only made a comeback in 2011 when Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association Limited was established. According to HKFP, there are fewer than 40 service/guide dogs in Hong Kong, a city with an estimate of 170,000 visually impaired people. The International Guide Dog Federation states that ideally there should be one guide dog for every 100 visually impaired people.
A lack of guide dogs is not the only struggle that Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association faces; training guide dogs has proven to be challenging under Hong Kong’s legal grey areas in relation to service dogs. While visually impaired people are allowed to access and use public facilities with their guide dogs, guide dog trainers are not. The outdated law means that guide dog trainers are often denied entry and access to basic public facilities, such as the bus, which begs the question - if the guide dog and the dog trainer is denied access while training, how can the guide dog learn and help the visually impaired? Thankfully, public awareness on this issue has been steadily improving with the help of the government working with rehabilitation organisations to facilitate the development of guide dogs service in Hong Kong.
If you’re curious as to how you can help, keep reading!
- Know how to behave around a guide dog. While they’re undeniably cute, they should not be fed or touched without the owner’s permission. And it goes without saying that if you’re an owner of an establishment, please make sure to welcome guide dogs and their dog trainers.
Volunteer! There are multiple ways you can volunteer at Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association Limited. From fostering potential guide dog puppies, being a general volunteer, and public speaking - there’s something for everyone regardless of time commitment.
- Donate and help fund the guide dog program at Hong Kong Guide Dogs Limited.
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