SINGAPORE (23 AUGUST 2021) — On July 29, Guide Dogs Singapore (GDS) welcomed its newest dog-in-training, Eve.
The 17-month-old Golden Retriever-Labrador Retriever mix will undergo five months of training by GDS’s Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, Ms Christina Teng. The training programme will familiarise Eve with Singapore’s environment while she learns guiding skills such as:
- Traveling in a straight line
- Stopping where there is a change in ground elevations such as at kerbs and staircases
- Avoiding stationary and moving obstacles
- Locating objects in sight such as doorways, MRT gantries, lifts and escalators
After the five months of training, Eve will be matched with her vision impaired (VI) handler, and both will undergo one month of training to learn to work as a pair.
Guide dogs provide VI persons with increased safety and more efficient travel, giving them the opportunity to live more independently. They also provide companionship, lifting mental stressors off VI persons as they go about their daily lives.
Eve was born in Osaka, Japan, on 1 March 2020 and is an extremely affectionate and active dog.
As part of her basic training in Osaka, helmed by Nippon Lighthouse Guide Dog Training Center, Eve was exposed to various environments — such as subway stations and parks — to familiarise her with crowded public spaces. She was also able to socialise with her raisers and other dogs during her puppyhood.
Ms Yukiji Uemura, puppy raiser to Eve said: “My family and I were very surprised to hear that our puppy Eve is going to be trained as a guide dog in Singapore. Her trainer from Nippon Lighthouse assured us that that they are confident that Eve will be a fine guide dog. We are very proud of her and would like to support her even though we are far away. It is so wonderful and a great opportunity that Eve will be able to help and support someone.”
When she completes her training, Eve will be paired with an eligible VI person who she will work with for up to nine years, if conditions permit.
With the help of GDS, Eve and her future handler will be equipped with the skills to navigate commonly visited locations such as malls or offices. The pair will also be assessed by GDS’s Guide Dog Mobility Instructor yearly until she retires to ensure the necessary support is given to maintain a long, healthy relationship between the two.
Guide dog teams in Singapore still face accessibility issues, as they are often rejected from entering public spaces — such as food and beverage outlets and private hire cars — despite existing legislation. This rejection often comes from the lack of awareness about guide dogs in Singapore.
With the arrival of Eve, GDS hopes that more people in Singapore will be accepting of guide dogs and this helps increase accessibility for their VI handlers.