I was shocked to read that Hong Kong has no guide dogs for the blind... until yesterday.
Google, a four-month Labrador puppy arrived from the Taiwan Guide Dog Association and he will be trained for the next 18 months with a foster family here. After that Google will undergo formal training and then train with his blind partner.
Yesterday the golden-haired puppy received tons of media attention but he seemed shy and tired. [Sorry can't seem to find a picture of him right now, but he is cute...]
The foster family has been instructed not to play with Google or feed him too frequently so that he would not be spoiled and would learn to be responsible.
The Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association is newly established and it's crazy to discover Google will be the first ever guide dog here.
"We hope Google will be the first of many dogs to come here and will introduce a new chapter for blind people in the city," said Tsang Kin-ping, vice president of the association.
Why has it taken this long for Hong Kong, a supposedly civilized society, to allow or have guide dogs in the city?
While China should be put to shame for not having these working animals, Hong Kong should be even more embarrassed. It's time to help integrate more disabled people into society and guide dogs can help many of them feel more a part of the community.
It's better late than never, but really, it's ridiculous in 2011.