Arona Ayuntamiento has announced an exhibition of the ONCE Foundation guide dogs in the Plaza del Pescador outside the Cultural Centre next Wednesday 14 November. The council says that it hopes the exhibition will increase awareness of the dogs’ skills and abilities in a show that everyone will enjoy. The Arona Policía Local’s Canine Unit will also be on show, starring Dana, the unit’s Belgian Shepherd. The exhibition will include demonstrations and information about the different campaigns that are being carried out in the municipality, emphasizing care of the environment and the importance of the correct possession of animals.
These guide dogs are specially trained to be a lifeline for people who are blind or who suffer severe visual impairment, improving their autonomy and mobility, all thanks to the work carried out by the ONCE Foundation. This charity is best known, perhaps, for the sale of lottery tickets, but in fact it’s a formal Fundación – the Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (National Organization of Blind Spaniards) – a non-profit charity in the proper sense of the word (see HERE) which aims to improve the quality of life of the blind, visually impaired, and the disabled throughout Spain.
In their training, the dogs learn to face the range of situations their blind partners might come across. They are trained to avoid fixed and mobile obstacles, warn the user of crossings or steps, look for pedestrian crossings, access all types of establishments and even locate where a bus stop is. The service is offered free of charge to anyone who needs it, and each year more than 140 new dogs come out to the street willing to help.
Arona’s police dog unit is dedicated to their own dogs, which they consider as fellow officers and complete and utter heroes. It is no surprise that the unit, and the council to which it belongs, should be behind an exhibition like this, bringing the ONCE guide dog work to a greater audience. There’ll be loads to see, and no doubt more than one tear to wipe away … next Wednesday, 14 November, from 11am outside the Cultural Centre in Los Cristianos.