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K9 talents


An ESF project in Latvia is helping blind people enjoy fuller lives by providing guide dogs

For the second time this year, a talented dog – a golden retriever – has been awarded its qualifications and is now at home with a new owner in the Latvian city of Ventspils as a guide dog for the blind. This success is the second from an ESF social rehabilitation project for the blind. Guide dogs are specially trained to escort their blind owners around the streets, warning of obstacles and helping deal with them – like traffic lights and roadworks. They are also trained to pick up dropped items, such as house keys, a simple task for most but very frustrating if you cannot see. The first guide dog was delivered in March to 19-year-old Beata in the town of Cēsis. Beata is completely blind, but is now living a much more independent life thanks to her dog – in fact, she has just returned from her first trip to Finland.