Friday, August 1, 2014

Lashawn goes to the mall

When you're a guide dog in Malaysia, being able to walk into a mall and not get kicked out is a big deal indeed. Infact it is such an achievement that it would warrant some amount of media coverage which it did. Breakthrough for the blind as guide dog is allowed into mall


Lashawn however has been creating history ever since he landed in Malaysia. For starters this professionally trained Labrador is the first-ever guide dog for the visually impaired permitted into the country. Can you believe it? After all these years of economic progress, having the world's tallest building and what not, and we did not even have something as basic as trained guide dogs for the disabled.

Lashawn and his master Stevens Chan the CEO and founder of Dialogue in the Dark (DID) as well as Save Ones Sight Mission Bhd (SOS Mission) and Malaysia Glaucoma Society are out to change all that through the "Dogs for Sight" campaign.

DID (www.did.my) is committed to bridging the gap between the visually-impaired and mainstream society to facilitate social inclusion on a global basis as well as raise awareness and create acceptance, thereby overcoming barriers between the visually-impaired and the general public through its Dogs for Sight Campaign. 

More mall visits for Lashawn?

Lashawn and Chan's recent trip to the Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall is a part of the ongoing Dogs for Sight Campaign.

According to Sunway Pyramid senior marketing manager Loo Hoey Theen, the mall had guidelines for blind people with guide dogs.

“When they enter our mall, the concierge staff will approach them to offer assistance,” she said.

She said the mall allowed guide dogs into its compound but the owners must adhere to its standard operating procedure (SOP).

“We will first ask the owner if he or she wants to leave the dog outside,” she said.

“If so, our security personnel will look after the dog.

“However, if the owner requests that the dog remains at his or her side, our concierge staff and security personnel will escort them around.”

Loo said this was to avoid people from coming up to the dog and disturbing it.

This is certainly a start, and a step in the right direction by Sunway Pyramid. Hopefully other malls and premises will follow suit. 

Lashawn and other guide dogs for the visually impaired who will come into this country in the future should not be impeded in their work because of narrow minded views and a poor understanding of how guide dogs function. Because in denying them the right to perform the tasks that they are trained for, we are denying the disabled the right to lead independent lives.

This certainly won't be the last we hear of Lashawn - the country's pioneer guide dog for the visually impaired, who together with his master are out to break existing social taboos.


As a fellow blogger friend rightly pointed out, why are toy dogs who fit into handbags ok to be taken about in public but not guide dogs who perform a necessary function for their disabled masters. The former serves as an accessory and are pets, the latter are working dogs. Why the bias?

Sunway Pyramid senior marketing manager Loo Hoey Theen said the mall had guidelines for blind people with guide dogs.
“When they enter our mall, the concierge staff will approach them to offer assistance,” she said.
She said the mall allowed guide dogs into its compound but the owners must adhere to its standard operating procedure (SOP).
“We will first ask the owner if he or she wants to leave the dog outside,” she said.
“If so, our security personnel will look after the dog.
“However, if the owner requests that the dog remains at his or her side, our concierge staff and security personnel will escort them around.”
Loo said this was to avoid people from coming up to the dog and disturbing it.
“This SOP applies to anyone who has a guide dog,” she said.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/breakthrough-for-visually-impaired-as-guide-dog-is-allowed-into-mall#sthash.mCNFocbm.dpuf

“Dogs for Sight” campaign.
“Dogs for Sight” campaign.

2 comments:

Small Kucing said...

Good job to Sunway Pyramid! hope more malls will be guide dog friendly

Jothi said...

Yup. About time the visually impaired in Malaysia are empowered and not have social bias and taboos impede their progress in society.