Blossom, an 11-week-old lab with her trainer, Cheryl Tradewell, in training to be a service dog with the BC and Alberta Guide Dog Society. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Guide dogs lack social distancing skills, public asked to assist when necessary

Dogs trained to take most efficient route meaning they could jump the line, brush against people

While the public adapts to social distancing as a new norm, BC and Alberta Guide Dogs are reminding people that guide dogs aren’t taught social distancing and to be mindful of this when out and about.

Guide dogs are trained to take their owner on the most efficient route from point A to B, which could lead to them brushing against people or jumping ahead of people in the spaced out line at the grocery store.

READ ALSO: Victoria veteran begs people to please not touch his service dog

“We need assistance here from people who are able to speak up and assist the person with the visual impairment,” said Bill Thornton, CEO of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs. “They’re not trying to take advantage that’s just the way the dogs are taught.”

The pandemic has impacted the organization in other ways too. Training has to take a back seat, with only some classes being moved online through Zoom meetings. Luckily all dogs were already in homes prior to the pandemic meaning the organization didn’t have to scramble to get them out of a kennel.

READ ALSO: Play trivia online to help raise puppies for B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs

“[The pandemic] has affected guide dog owners pretty much the same as the rest of us,” said Thornton. “We’re dealing with capable people, people with a great deal of ability and they’re adapting like the rest of us.”

Thornton said the only concern he’s heard from a person who uses a guide dog is wondering if the virus could be transmitted through the dogs.

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control there have been reports of cats — and a tiger — becoming sick with the virus after being in close contact with an infected person and in Hong Kong, two pet dogs tested positive but did not show any symptoms. BCCDC adds that its unlikely pets can infect people, stating that the virus is spreading from person to person.

Applications to receive a guide dog have also stopped but anyone in need of one can call the organization at 604-940-4504 to have their information taken down to start the process when the pandemic is declared over.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusDisability

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Drive-by parade being held for seniors in Vanderhoof

The route covers long-term care homes in the district as well as the hospital.

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

Daughter sets up GoFundMe page for mother recovering from a rare autoimmune disease

Jenn Farr Stephens, Vanderhoof resident, has been diagnose with Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Class of 2020 to tour Vanderhoof’s downtown core in a “reverse parade”

Organizers are requesting businesses to make the day special for graduates this year as COVID-19 disrupted their celebration this year.

Peaceful protest in Vanderhoof to show support for minority groups

The demonstration will be held on June 6 and will start at Ferland Park.

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

Most Read