The annual Riga Marathon took place on 17 May, attracting 25,931 runners from 69 countries around the world. Also taking part this year for the first time were representatives of the service dog association TEODORS. Young doctor Kristaps Dambergs ran the 21 km half marathon, while visually impaired Aleksejs Korsaks and his guide dog Tikka completed the 5 km distance with distinction, in so doing becoming the first blind runner to compete in the Riga Marathon together with his guide dog. Aleksejs is very athletic and participates in various events with great enthusiasm and encourages other visually impaired people to join him in enjoying the benefits of sporting activities. Losing one’s sight does not mean losing the ability to move! After competing, Aleksejs and Kristaps expressed their satisfaction with their achievement in the hope that the public will pay greater attention to visually impaired people and that it will understand the importance of the role played by guide dogs in these people’s lives and, if possible, donate money to the service dog association TEODORS. This will once again help some visually impaired person to receive a guide dog, thus significantly improving the quality of this person’s life.

Tikka is already the organisation’s third guide dog which we have entrusted to a visually impaired Latvian citizen.

The board of the service dog association TEODORS is gratified with the way that the event turned out and with the funds donated. People have been most generous. This gives us the strength to continue the work we have begun! During the month of May, the organization received almost EUR 1,500 in donations. This is equal to the amount that we received for the whole of 2014. We will use this money to support our guide dogs Teodors and Tikka.

Our eight puppies from last year will soon be one year old. In the near future, they will undergo character, obedience and veterinary checks and suitable dogs will start service dog school under the watchful eyes and training of Zaiga Kļaviņa and Juha Herttuainen. Naturally, this project will also involve expenditures. Just how many of these dogs remain in Latvia is dependent on the goodwill and generosity of the general public.

Ligita Damberga, May 2015

Photos can be viewed in the gallery

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