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Guide dog training adapted due to COVID-19

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind has adapted their training to continue during COVID-19.

In a media release, the organization says training stopped in March and a residential class was cancelled of six people who were going to attend the three-week training course to receive a guide dog. They say they adapted so people who are blind and require a guide dog could still train with and receive one.

“Without a guide dog, someone may have to rely on other people to get places. It can be devastating, and it can make the difference between being at home and afraid or unable to get out versus living an active and independent lifestyle.”

Mobility Instructors with the organization now travel to each person’s community and train them with a guide dog, locally, in their own neighbourhood.  The organization says there are pros and cons to this method, but it means they can continue to help people during these difficult times.

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Residential training continues but with only one person at a time traveling to the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind and living in residence.

“Some travel restrictions, especially in eastern Canada, are still impacting guide dog training, but Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind has done everything it possibly can to ensure as many Canadians as possible can still receive guide dogs.”

Jane Thornton, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind says they have to do whatever they can to adapt and make sure they continue to help people.

“We have been doing this for 36 years.  COVID-19 forces us to change the way we do things, but we are adapting as best we can in our new world, so that Canadians who are blind can receive guide dogs.”

More information can be found on the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind website here.

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