With their tender eyes they invite and tempt the immediate caress. But, in clear and large letters, the wake-up call is embroidered on the harness that joins it to the owner’s hand: “Don’t touch me”,
warns how to stop the hands that want to touch, why not hug, Canela and Anubis, the guide dogs that leave their tracks on the sands of Popular Beach while they march alongside María Sol Campos (42) and Miguel Eduardo Salinas (41).
There can be no pampering while wearing that equipment they wear on the spine and distinguishes them
. It is their uniform and work team and they feel that way. Because he can get it removed and the order “free” to start jumping and playing like normal dogs. The harness returns to its place and there they are again, next to their owners and ready to mark them a safe path.
On vacation along the Atlantic coast,
María Sol and Miguel experience this adaptation not only with their guides day after day but also, together with the dogs, in this coexistence with third parties in different situations and scenarios
. From public transportation to open and closed walks, restaurants, accommodations and even entertainment venues.
María Sol Campos and Miguel Eduardo Salinas spend their days with their guide dogs, Canela and Anubis.
And these days between Mar del Plata and Villa Gesell collect good repercussions.
And the others too. For example, being welcome in a hotel, where they do not put obstacles to spend the night in a room with the dog. Or rejected in a fast food house where, despite current law that allows entry with guide dogs, guide and user close the door in the face. Both encountered these experiences, as they coincided with the dates, but traveled separately.
“How do you react? I did not argue and left, but I explained that they were wrong and I left the brochure with information on the rules that allow us to enter the restaurant with the dog also”
Miguel tells about the bad moment that happened in a recognized international chain that sells grilled hamburgers. Law 26,858 to which Miguel refers, was regulated last November, and enforces the right of access, walking and permanence of guide dogs or assistance that accompany people with disabilities. However, as happened to María Sol and Miguel with their dogs, it is not always true.
Law 26,858 was regulated last November, and enforces the right of access, walking and permanence of guide or assistance dogs that accompany people with disabilities.
The other daily inconvenience is that well-meaning confusion of people, who, when they see dogs, wants to touch them.
The idea is that while they are in the exercise of their role as guides, no other person caresses them, plays with them or tries to feed them.
María Sol has been with Canela for six years, a beautiful golden cross and golden-haired labrador who is her full-time companion.
These days there was again the great pleasure of walking along the sea and without feeling risks.
“It was an exit that I used to do with a cane and, obviously, it is not the same,” he says.
It was an exit he used to do with a cane and, obviously, it is not the same.
Both María Sol and Miguel only have a vision of light. They suffered retinopathies that left them unable to see more than any reflex.
She in 2001, when she also had a blind eye completely. He was just born. The visual difficulty is the second most prevalent among the population with disabilities, 25% of them, that is, approximately 900,000 people, as determined by the National Study of People with Disabilities prepared by Indec in 2018. And only 35 of them they accessed guide dogs.
María Sol and Miguel turned to the
Argentine Guide Dog School (EPGA)
to become a partner to guide them in their routines and gain greater independence. There they are raised and trained for almost two years for their role as lazarillos.
It is a training and socialization route, for which they are linked to different possible scenarios that are typical of the lives of the people who will be in charge of them.
The visual difficulty is the second most prevalent among the population with disabilities, 25% of them, that is, approximately 900,000 people, of which only 35 accessed guide dogs.
Cinnamon is one of the first two graduates of that institution, which has already delivered 20 dogs. María Sol account that an application must be submitted and have the orientation and mobility course.
“A very oiled use of the white cane is required because it will be a tool to orient and direct the dog in that functional unit that is formed in the couple,” he explains.
More than company
Those interested are listed on the waiting list until the assigned dog arrives.
It is achieved with sponsors that each blind person approaches.
Sol, which is from the Buenos Aires party of Las Flores, won support from that municipality, the local Lions Club and some companies. Miguel, who is a lawyer and of Florencio Varela, also added contributions from that municipality – where he is also employed -, also Club de Leones de Monte Grande and a legal study of fellow friends.
Anubis has been with his road partner for less than two months. They took advantage of January, month of judicial fair, to tour the courts that Miguel travels daily as part of his professional work.
“When he goes to work there, he will recognize the places and go more natural and safe,” he warns. The same in the municipality of Florencio Varela, where he already walked with his guide to familiarize himself with the routes.
Sol, who already has this relationship with Canela, insists that compatibility is always sought between dogs and the user.
They must be consolidated as a binomial. And rule out that it is a 24-hour relationship. “Last night I went out to dinner with friends and left her, one decides when she goes with the dog,” he says. But you can also go to the same place with your guide with the certainty that you will not have problems.
One decides when he goes with the dog.
From experience, it is worth noting that in six months to one year the ideal tuning is achieved with the guide dog in charge.
Sol says that it’s about strengthening the bond, but also knowing each other in motion
. “To perceive that it accelerates because a dog is coming or that it stops because there are wells or obstacles,” he explains.
The assistance they provide to their users is essential. They mark doors, chairs, slopes.
Through clear and already trained orders they can follow a course and change direction. “Walk”, “Right”, “Left”, “Bordea” are some of the requests to which dogs respond instantly. If there is a step, they mark it. A depth with risk, too.
Through clear and already trained orders they can follow a course and change direction. “Walk”, “Right”, “Left”, “Bordea” are some of the requests to which dogs respond instantly.
Until they had their ties, both were handled only with a cane, which they do not stop using.
“Walking with the dog is more relaxed,” Miguel acknowledges. Sol notes that with Canela as an assistant “you save time, you leave at another pace, with more security.” What with stick you have to touch or crash to detect, the dog dodges it by itself.
“Respecting their schedules, their demands for needs and games, accompanies one’s life, we end up being a team,” both emphasize.
The daily routine includes physical and obedience exercises because, they emphasize, you always have to mark the hierarchy. “The Alpha of the two is one, because they always seek to gain ground,” explains Sol.
The daily routine includes physical and obedience exercises because, they emphasize, you always have to mark the hierarchy.
It also clarifies that these guide dogs are part of their user’s family but in no way the group’s pet.
“They can play with others, but then we play more,” they explain how they ratify that link and exclusive membership.
- Breeding and training of lazarillos in the country has one of its pillars and pioneers in the Guide Guide Dog School
, a program that is based in Quilmes, has the support of Royal Canin and is recognized internationally.
- Cinnamon and Anubis are graduated from different litters of animals prepared to face different types of situations and
become somehow in the eyes of the blind people they attend.
- The first copies arrived from the United States
. In Spain they are only destined for European countries. The local proposal began to cover the local demand and even send some of them abroad.