LOCAL MSP SPENDS AFTERNOON WITH GUIDE DOG
Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray spent time last Monday (23 June 2014) being guided around Dumfries by a guide dog in order to gain a greater understand of what it is like to a blind person in the town and then met with guide dogs owners and their guides to hear local concerns.
Elaine was blindfolded and led around the town by a guide dog in training named Yana and walked from Elaine’s parliamentary office at the bottom of Friars Vennel, along the High Street and down to the Multicultural Association headquarters in Bank Street, and was accompanied by Julie Millar, Engagement Manager, and Yana’s trainer, Shona Mathie, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, both from Guide Dogs Scotland.
Talking about her experience, Elaine Murray said:
“It was a unique experience which gave me a small insight into what it must be like for a blind person walking around town. It’s quite different from being a sighted dog walker, controlling a dog, to trusting a dog to guide you. It made me much more aware of the barriers and difficulties street furniture, crossings without tactile markings and shared areas create for blind people.”
“It also gave me an insight into the excellent work Guide Dog Scotland do. As well as providing a guide dog, they also support users with the necessary equipment and training as well as providing financial assistance towards the upkeep of the dog. The charity does excellent work which I am pleased to support.”
As well as experiencing a guided walk, Elaine attended a meeting with guide dog users. On the meeting, Elaine said:
“It was good to have an opportunity to meet with guide dog users so they could share their experiences, let me know about what issues they are face and what I can do to help. A number of issues were raised and I will take theses forward with the local council.”