Lietuvas ciemiņiAlthough, we all like to visit friends, welcoming guests can also be a lot of fun. On 7 May, the Service Dog Association TEODORS was delighted to welcome some special guests from Lithuania. Our visitors were comprised of 50 members of a society for the blind, including social workers, rehabilitation specialists, young massage specialists, ergotherapists and dog handlers and trainers, who’d travelled from Klaipeda and the suburbs of the City of Klaipeda.

What was the reason for their visit? Not surprisingly, the main reason was to get a first-hand look at the everyday world of the TEODORS association and to find out how the well-known phenomenon of guide dogs works in reality, as well as about how to obtain such a dog, how to work with it and the ways in which a dog can help a sight-impaired person.

Our visitors were welcomed by the founder of the Service Dog Association TEODORS and its dog trainer/handler Zaiga Kļaviņa, the association’s Chairman Aleksejs Volkovs with his guide dog Teodors and by another member of the association, Natalja Muravjeva and her guide dog Latti. The guests were received in a friendly atmosphere at the Strazdumuiza Village Club. Our visitors from Lithuania had a lot of questions, because, at present, there are unfortunately no service dogs in Lithuania. The discussion was opened by Aleksejs, who told our visitors about our organisation, work and his personal experience of living and working with his guide dog Teodors. Zaiga introduced the visitors to the specifics of dog training and to the development of the system of foster families for dogs. Natalja and her guide dog Latti put on a demonstration of their joint practical work to show the guests the abilities of a guide dog. In front of the guests, Latti brought her mistress some items that had fallen to the floor including a shoe and a belt. Similarly, Latti also showed her mistress a free seat and at the end of the conversation, accompanied one of the guests – a sight-impaired girl named Rasa to the café.

The guide dogs made a fantastic impression on the visitors, some of whom said that they would not mind having such a wonderful, intelligent and helpful four-legged friend as a companion.

In conclusion, I’d like to say that we were delighted to welcome our guests and that, with all our hearts, we wish that they too can establish similar organisations in future so that guide dogs can also share their friendship and the warmth of their love with sight-impaired people in Lithuania.

Natalja and Aleksejs V. , May 2016

Lietuvas ciemiņi

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