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Six benefits of switching to a Guide Dog

February 14, 2024
  1. Speed
    You can walk at your own pace again. Cane use brings with it a slower pace as you swipe around one metre ahead of you, but it has its shortcomings. It can’t tell you if there’s low hanging branches or see oncoming dangers outside of the cane’s swipe area. 
    With a Guide Dog, you have an extra set of eyes looking out for obstacles, such as cars and people on their phones.
    It adds a level of confidence you can’t get with a cane, which means you can pick up your pace and travel much quicker.
  2. Independence
    A Guide Dog is trained to navigate you around new places. They can help you find an empty seat or get to escalators. With a white cane, you have to rely on your own memory of a place and hope things haven’t moved around since your last visit.  A dog can give you the confidence to navigate new areas without having to rely on others, giving you back some autonomy.

    A handler gets guided to a bench by their Guide Dog.
    A handler gets guided to a bench by their Guide Dog.
  3. Confidence
    It’s stressful setting out on your own. With a white cane in hand, you become hyper vigilant about obstacles, bracing for the unfortunate low hanging branch and, of course, you’re listening out for noises and cars. A Guide Dog gives you a bit of brain power back, helping you around obstacles and stopping you at crossings.
     
  4. Social 
    Australia is filled with dog lovers. A dog in harness is sometimes quite the novelty and, above all, very cute. Guide Dogs are really popular and many people go out of their way to say hello and ask about the dog next to you.
    It’s a great conversation starter.
     
  5. Identification 
    With your cane folded up, it’s hard for people to know you might need extra support. Bus drivers might drive past because they think you’re waiting for another line. A dog is an identification that you have low vision and might need some extra assistance.
    As people understand you are legally blind from the get go, you don’t have to start your conversation with that fact, saving you a bit of time.  
     
  6. Safety
    A dog is particularly useful in emergencies. Your dog will be able to follow people as they make their way to safety, but most importantly navigate obstacles and hazards. Famously during the World Trade Centre attacks on September 11, Michael Hingson followed his Guide Dog Roselle to the stairwell and down 78 flights of stairs to be evacuated moments before the towers fell.  

Curious about what it takes to make a great Guide Dog Handler?

Join our next online Guide Dog info session:
Date:
26 March
Time:
7 pm (AEST)
Register:
https://events.humanitix.com/guide-dogs-victoria-join-us-for-a-short-information-session

Or talk to our team directly on getting paired with a Guide Dog now on 1800 804 805.



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