How much do you really know about Guide dogs? Last week, Guide Dogs Singapore kindly invited Perropet to find out more about the lives of guide dogs in Singapore. It was a fun-filled and eye-opening session! In this post, we will share more about what we learnt, as well as debunk some myths of Guide Dogs.
About Guide Dogs Singapore (GDS)
Founded in 2006, GDS aims to enhance the visually impaired’s quality of life. Focusing on arranging mobility training to the visually impaired, GDS pairs suitable candidates with guide dogs. As a non-profit voluntary welfare organisation, GDS has been granted the Charity status by the commissioner of charities. By working closely with building owners, food establishments and regulators, it is hoped that guide dogs would be better integrated into society, so as to bring better help and companion for the visually impaired and blind.
An inclusive society where every blind and visually-impaired person is empowered for independent living
We are dedicated to help the blind and visually-impaired people to achieve their fullest potential within the society
To build a world-class organisation providing excellent service quality and lifelong support to the blind and visually-impaired community
Sadly, not all dogs can be a guide dog. It is through special selections! On the breeding for these guide dogs, it is usually done through guide dog ancestors. Through special breeding, this will ensure that the temperament and physical structure of these guide dogs are similar. In Singapore, labrador and golden retrievers are top choices for a guide dog. In order to be an official guide dog, these dogs need to complete training at a young age. The total training period will take approximately 2 years! Upon completion of training, guide dogs are fit for work for around 7-9 years!
Job Scope of a Guide Dog
Before we begin, how do you differentiate a pet labrador from a guide dog? Guide dogs can be identified through their shining armour – their ‘guide dog’ harness! Here are some important skills and abilities they are capable of.
- Lead a person from Point A to Point B
- Walk in a straight line
- Stop when there is a change in elevation (i.e stairs & kerbs) or at overhead obstacles (i.e trees)
- Intelligent disobedience: Avoid obstacles in their path and disobey if puts team in danger
- Find empty seats, bins, lifts, escalators
- Trained to eat at specific timings
- Toilet commands: Pee on command outdoors before entering indoor areas
- No barking or biting at humans and other dogs
Some myths of guide dogs include determining the route to new destinations and reading traffic signals. However, that is not the case. These are done in conjunction with guide dog handler’s orientation and mobility skills. Some people do wonder if a dog job robs a dog’s ‘freedom’ away, or if its cruel. While a guide dog works hard, they do play hard when they are ‘off duty’, just like any other dogs.
Guide Dog Friendly Places in Singapore
Here are some shopping malls, institutions, food and beverage outlets and businesses that are dog-friendly – woohoo! Of course, this list is not exhaustive as there might be more upcoming ones! Through this article, we hope to increase the number of dog-friendly establishments in Singapore. If you wish to register your business, contact Guide Dog Singapore at 6423 0217 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) has stated that guide dogs are not considered ‘haram’. There is a differentiation between pet dogs and guide dogs. As guide dogs are of such great help to the visually impaired, MUIS encourage followers to support guide dogs! As such, halal-certified food establishments are also highly encouraged to be a guide dog friendly business! Some prominent businesses in the Singapore include Food Republic, Tunglok, Haagen Daz, IKEA, DBS, Jem, Suntec and hospitals. Did you know that
How To Support As An Individual
250% tax deduction for donations $10 and above
Purchase Guide Dogs Singapore merchandises (Psst, I assure you that they are really really cute!)
Be a guide dog friend
Join GDS at ad-hoc events, befriending and administration
Be a Guide-dog friendly establishment and employer
How To Support As A Company
Include Guide Dog Singapore as a charity
Encourage employees to donate
Sell Guide Dog Singapore merchandises on consignment basis
Partner with GDS for outreach and fundraising events
Every donation helps more puppies to become guide dog heroes: https://www.giving.sg/gds/igdd