31 Aug 2017
As a staunch supporter of guide dog services in Hong Kong, Link, through its flagship charity programme Link Together Initiatives, sponsored Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association’s (HKGDA) "Love Leads the Way" community project in 2014/15 to bring eight puppies to Hong Kong to receive guide dog training. Upon completing their training, five of the puppies have been matched with visually impaired users. Visually impaired athlete Gary Leung, who has already lived with his guide dog Gaga for four months, said that true to her name, Gaga has given him a new life.
As guide dogs can help their users walk safely and easily on the street, they are often viewed as the best partner for the visually impaired. In view of the community's demand, Link has been donating to HKGDA since 2014/2015. After many months of effort, six of the eight guide dogs completed their training and five were successfully matched with visually impaired users. One of the guide dogs, Eve, was assigned the important mission of supporting a local guide dog breeding programme as the breeding dog. Having given birth to seven offsprings, Eve is now serving as HKGDA’s ambassador to support the promotion of guide dog services in Hong Kong.
Ms. Fianna Chi, Chairman of Service and Support Committee from HKGDA, said, "Given that there are more than 170,000 visually impaired individuals in Hong Kong, guide dog services are in great demand, with an estimated 1,700 people in need of a guide dog. We are grateful to Link for its support. Without a doubt, a guide dog is better than a cane. We hope to match 30 visually impaired people with a guide dog in 2019, so that more people can benefit.”
Visually impaired athlete Gary met his “best partner" guide dog Gaga in April this year. They went through three weeks of training, which included giving and receiving instructions, before living together. Their bond is growing stronger each day. "Gaga has given me a new life and a sense of security, so now I go out more often, and feel happier than before," said Gary.
Gaga, whose name connotes new life, is one of the guide dogs who were named by Link staff. Together with the seven other guide dogs – Dax, Delta, Eve, Elsa, Faith, Freda and Ginny – Gaga is working hard to improve safety for the visually impaired and foster a better understanding of guide dog services in the community.