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A cold nose will show you the way: on the history of guide dogs for the blind

Poster Details

First Author: S.Scholtz GERMANY

Co Author(s):    C. Kobelt   A. Schmelt   F. Kretz   G. Auffarth     

Abstract Details



Purpose:

Their job is not at all limited to a schedule from 9 to 5, but they don't receive any salary. They can distinguish between right and left, are intelligent with high work ethics, socially competent, highly able to withstand stress but they get vaccinated, castrated and microchips-implanted. This poster will briefly reflect the major steps of the history of guide dogs for the blind.

Setting:

[1] International Vision Correction Research Centre (IVCRC), Dept. of Ophthalmology, University of Heidelberg, Germany [2] Tierarztpraxis Dr. Kobelt, Karlsruhe, Germany [3] Deutsche Blindenführhunde e.V., Germany

Methods:

Selective literature research of books and journal articles via PubMed, Google Scholar and Google, close cooperation with German Guide Dogs Association (Deutsche Blindenführhunde e.V.).

Results:

In Antiquity dogs shown together with blind persons on paintings can be understood as their companions but there is no evidence that they were used as guide dogs. First ideas using them for guiding blind people arose in Europe in 1780 in Paris (France) and in 1788 in Vienna (Austria). First training instructions for these dogs have been established in Vienna in 1819. Due to the high number of war-blind persons after WWI the interest in guide dogs was very high. The first school for guide dogs for the blind worldwide was founded in 1916 in Oldenburg, Germany. Dorothy Harrison Eustis, an American, being highly impressed by the benefits of guide dogs, founded a school for trainers of guide dogs in Switzerland in 1927. The same year she wrote an article on this topic which was published in America´s 'Saturday Evening Post'. This article contributed to the international breakthrough of using guide dogs for the blind.

Conclusions:

Today guide dogs for the blind are widely accepted as therapeutic means for blind people and are mostly supported by the local Government and/or health insurances. They offer a great source of independence to their users. Above that dogs are one of life´s noble gifts, they are companions and a wet-nosed protection shield - they make life´s journey not only possible but also more worthwhile. FINANCIAL INTEREST: NONE

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