Guide dogs in need of adoptive families

THE WAITING list for blind people to acquire a guide dog is ever greater as adoptive families for guide dogs who are undergoing training are in short supply.

The Associação Beira Aguieira de Apoio ao Deficiente Visual (ABVAADV), an association that supports the visually impaired in Mortágua, north of Portugal, is the only school in the country to train guide dogs.

More adoptive families are needed by the association to care for the puppies from the age of two months old for around a year until they are trained.

“Without adoptive families, there are no dogs for the visually impaired,” said Filipa Paiva, veterinary and Director of ABVAADV, adding: “There are currently 23 families in central Portugal, around Viseu, Coimbra and Figueira da Foz, but many more are needed.”

When taken in by a family, the dogs have special authorisation to frequent places that are not allowed by other animals. This helps the dog get used to the everyday environments where it will be guiding its future owner.

Since 1999, ABVAADV has trained 60 guide dogs, each one costing around 15,000 euros from birth until it is fully trained.

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