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

Wildsight Golden prepares for GET WILD! summer camps

The day camps will limit enrollement to ten campers and will practice social distancing

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Possible Kermode Bear spotted near Castlegar

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run on May 27

Pregnant Revelstoke woman catches COVID-19 days before giving birth

Michelle Hunter said the ordeal was like a horror movie

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Update: Deceased suspect in West Kootenay gas station stabbing only in town two weeks

Police say the 30-year-old suspect stabbed a Montrose gas station employee

Most Read