Blind World Magazine

First Batch of Guide Dogs Start Training.

Northeast Network, China.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006.

Guide dogs are finally coming to the mainland, with the first batch being trained to help some of the nation's 8.77 million blind people and possibly assist athletes during the 2008 Paralympics.

Li Weihong, an executive member of the China Disabled Person's Federation said the first guide dog training centre had been opened in Dalian , Liaoning province , last month and others would be set up in Beijing and Shanghai soon.

"China has no guide dogs. We plan to train 10 dogs annually in the Dalian centre," Mr Li said. "We hope they will be used in the 2008 Paralympics."

The announcement came as a delegation from the Japan Guide Dog Association visited the Beijing School for the Blind yesterday to demonstrate how guide dogs help people walk safely.

Takano Shuichi, the association's promotion manager, said guide dogs were usually labradors or golden retrievers, and were "mild, gentle, stable and understanding".

Each dog costs 470,000 yuan to raise and train.

Mr Shuichi said the association would hold talks with its counterparts and related government departments on the mainland to seek co-operation in the area, including discussions on instructing dog trainers.

(South China Morning Post)

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