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Misconceptions a hurdle for guide dog users

LEADING THE WAY: Ms Lim and her guide dog, Nice, were once ordered off a bus by a timekeeper who didn't know that the dogs were allowed on board. She aims to raise awareness on the furry guides at a private event on Sunday.


    Oct 02, 2014

    Misconceptions a hurdle for guide dog users

    SHE was trying to board a bus full of commuters with the aid of her guide dog when the timekeeper yelled at her and ordered her to get off.

    The bus driver tried to come to Lim Lee Lee's rescue, calming the timekeeper down and assuring him that guide dogs were allowed on the bus.

    But the timekeeper still refused to allow the motivational speaker's dog on the bus and started banging on the vehicle's doors, while the driver phoned his company's headquarters to help clarify the situation.

    Fortunately for Ms Lim, 46, the company told the driver that it does indeed allow guide dogs on its services. She and her dog, Nice, were allowed to continue on their journey.

    But it's incidents like this that have made several guide dog users realise there is a need to raise awareness in Singapore about guide dogs and the important role they play in helping the blind get around safely.

    Ms Lim and fellow guide dog user Kua Cheng Hock will address this issue and shed light on how guide dogs are raised in a private event on Sunday.

    The occasion also marks the first anniversary of the arrival of the Japan-bred Nice in Singapore.

    "Awareness of guide dogs as alternative mobility aids for the blind can be raised (through) this event," Ms Lim told My Paper.

    "We hope to increase the level of awareness, especially when guide dogs are seen in public establishments and on public transport.

    "While many retailers allow guide dogs to visit their establishments along with their users, the staff on the ground are often clueless that guide dogs are allowed."

    While most blind people rely on a cane to get around, it is not always ideal.

    Ms Lim pointed out that people these days often do not look where they are going.

    "I have gotten into accidents a couple of times when some people tripped over my cane and fell," she explained.

    "Moreover, it is now common to have cyclists on pedestrian walkways and my canes have been broken due to such accidents.

    "A guide dog would lead me away from such obstacles.

    "When there is a crowd, she slows down and seeks opportunities to take me through safely."

    Mr Kua, 59, is self-employed and better known as the owner of Singapore's first guide dog, Kendra, which died on Aug 1 at the age of 11.

    He will be giving insights into his life without Kendra and how he is coping. He is awaiting the arrival of a new guide dog.