Dogs have always been considered as the man's best friend. They have been known to warn people of imminent natural disasters and save their lives. They have been used on farms from time immemorial to keep the wolves away and keep the sheep safe.
Guide dogs are trained dogs that serve as the eyes of the blind and are provided free of cost by various organizations across the world. These dogs are the result of a dedicated effort of the collective aspirations of an organization, their staff, puppy raisers, volunteers, donors, and the visually impaired people, who put their trust in the dogs.
The dogs help in the visually impaired individual's mobility in the house and on the road, warning him/her of any dangers such as, a stranger approaching the house, or alerting them about the traffic on the road while crossing. They have to be taught to recognize the traffic signals and body movements through which, they can alert the individual.
They also have to be taught certain commands and key words to which, they must respond immediately. The dog in turn, is dependent on the individual for food and other normal upkeep.
Fortunately, the organizations that train these dogs, understand this and are very adept in grasping the unique personality and attributes of a dog that would make a good match with a visually impaired person. This is the reason why they incorporate the circumstances that surround the lifestyle of each visually impaired person in their training program.
The entire process makes it imperative for the visually impaired person to undergo a thorough and careful evaluation when looking for a guide dog. Based on the needs of the individual, the dog is picked out.
Even after a dog has been selected for an individual, after careful evaluation, both, the dog and the individual will have to undergo further training and practical sessions, to understand each other and what can be expected from each other.
How You Can Help
You can contribute to this program by registering your name in the organization that trains dogs for the disabled. Once the registration procedure is complete, you will have to adopt a puppy, which is around 7 weeks old. You have to take care of the pup and fulfill its daily requirements, until it turns 14 months old.
Along with that, you are supposed to teach the future guide dog, good manners along with all the love and affection that you and other family members can shower on it. It is also important to socialize the puppy in different surroundings as a part of the training.
Once the pup is about 1 year old and the organization feels that it is old enough to receive further training, it is taken back to the organization. From there, they are made available to the people in need of assistance and help.
These organizations could also take some kind of monetary donations that you would like to make. So, before indulging in this social activity, it is important to learn that, training and raising dogs might be an expensive affair for some of you.
Furthermore, these trained dogs should be available to the blind people for free or at a very nominal cost, otherwise, it won't serve the purpose.
Guide dogs are no longer limited for the blind people. Recently, these dogs were also provided to autistic people and it has been observed that they have benefited a lot from these dogs. However, in this context, the dogs are termed as 'Assistance Dogs'.
The needs of an autistic individual are totally different from that of a visually impaired person and hence, the training programs are also different for such dogs.
If you know someone, who you think can benefit from a guide or an assistance dog, you can look for an organization in your locality and help the person.