Guide dog helps councillor step into the shoes of partially-sighted people

More than 360,000 people are registered blind in the United Kingdom and the majority of these people will depend on their fellow guide dogs on a daily basis. Each day, hundreds of dogs are trained to become companions for the partially-sighted and one person who wanted to uncover the importance of guide dogs recently was Brenda Thompson.

As the councillor of Middlesbrough and the Executive member of public health and sport, Thomson felt that local residents deserved to learn more about visual impairment and the struggles against which the blind and partially-sighted fight every day.

Helping her on her mission of discovery was Matt, who is a fully trained guide dog. Thomson was not alone as she embarked on her journey through Middlesbrough town centre blindfolded, as numerous other local residents participated in the Walk My Way challenge during Guide Dogs Week 2012, which drew to a close on Sunday, October 14.

Speaking of the interesting experience, Cllr Thompson said:

“Many of us take our sight for granted, and have little or no concept of the challenges faced daily by those who are blind or partially-sighted.”

Matt, who is a golden retriever cross at the tender age of 20 months old, guided Thompson throughout the jam-packed town and displayed his exceptional directional skills. Thompson said:

“He knew exactly what he was doing.”

The Walk My Way challenge not only raised awareness, but also raised money for Guide Dogs Week 2012. The Guide Dogs website has more information on how to support this cause.