Hong Kong’s first locally-trained guide dog, Google, passed away peacefully last Sunday (27/3) after being hard-fought against cancer.
Google, a Labrador, was given to Hong Kong by the Taiwan Guide Dog Association in 2011. After being trained by the Hong Kong Guide Dog Service Centre for a year, Google started its service to David, who has been blind for years. He is very sad about the passing of Google. It was his favourite family member, his favourite son and his most important guide.
The Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services also published an obituary on social media. “We are grateful for the Taiwan Guide Dog Association for donating Google to us some years ago in order to develop a new chapter of the seeing eye dog service in Hong Kong; we are also thankful to the medical caring team that took seamless care of Google’s health condition in recent years. Most importantly, we are grateful for Google, who dedicated his life to the visually imparied. We believe that the blessings of Google will always be with David, and their love will never end.
Guide dogs are the eyes of blind people, guiding them through the difficulties of daily life. This shows that dogs are not only good friends but also good helpers for human beings. Unfortunately, Hong Kong does not value the welfare of guide dogs, and it was not until 2012 that Google launched the local guide dog service. The government has been indifferent to the needs of guide dogs, including the provision of travel and medical services, and Google’s medical care in his old age was handled by a private veterinary clinic, showing how backward animal welfare is in Hong Kong.
The World Dog Alliance believes that guide dogs should be entitled to social welfare after a lifetime of service to humanity, just as the elderly are entitled to a pension upon retirement after contributing to society. The new government will take office in July, and it is hoped that the new officials will promote the welfare of service dogs in recognition of their contributions.