Thursday , June 8 2023

Queen woman has a new guiding dog after an old cyclist hit


For almost five months, Ashley Nemeth used sugar cane after having served a dog, being hit by a cyclist and forced to retire.

But now there is a new hand from Danson for two years – one of six recent canine graduates from the Canadian program for the National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

"I feel I can move faster and more freely with a driving dog," said CNET Regina Friday, Nemeth, a leading CNIB program for southern Saskatchewan.

She was without a guide dog when his former service puppy, Rick, was forced to retire after his lap was led by a cyclist in July.

"He was my first guide dog and I felt like I could go anywhere and do anything," she said back in the summer.

The accident led to Rick suffering from anxiety and stress and was forced to retire early. And although the dog was sent to a new house, this left Nemeth.

"For me to travel safely, I have to get things to know where I am. So, fire hydrants, poles, cracks on the sidewalk, I have to find those things to navigate," she said.

But now, with Danson on her side, Nemeth does not have to worry about these things.

Danson is instructed to avoid obstacles and drive it. He also helps with everyday tasks such as working and taking their children to school.

"The dash signs are back on the sidewalks, people do not clutter their sidewalks. All these things that are constantly in your way are major dangers with a white reed," Nemeth said. "While with a guiding dog sometimes you do not even know they are there because he just avoids them."

Despite all the help given by Danson, once I'm home and no longer has a clock, and Nemeth says she "plays with the kids and she's just a dog."

But at work, Nemeth warns people that although Danson and other trained hunting dogs may seem tempting for the pet: "ignore the dog completely".

"This includes caring, barking, attention in any way. If the dog looks at you, it does not focus on what they have," explains Nemeth. "You would never have fished my white stick. So please do not spend my dog.

Although the CNIB has been in operation for over a hundred years, it has only implemented a new dog guide school program 18 months ago. CNIB told CTV Queen that it wants to offer more options in Canada, especially for targeted and blind customers.

The common choice for help dogs for people with disabilities is Labrador and Golden Retrievers, as trainers say they are easily adaptable, acceptable and have a strong working ethic.

But public perception plays a part.

"People will probably be more willing to help someone who can have a golden lab or retriever than a race that they do not know or feel comfortable with," CNA Regina instructed CNIB dog instructor Shona Kemp .

CNIB says it intends to continue the new program next year.

With a report from Colton Wiens from CTV Regina

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