The company of a guide dog brings great changes in the quality of life of a visually impaired person. In Brusque, there is Braille, which has been with Sidnei Pavesi for 7 years, and now also the Marujo, a dog that is in the process of socialization and should be trained for the role next year.
Labrador, defined as “a ball of fur of happiness”, is only eight months old and has been accompanying the socializing family for four months, formed by teachers Patricia Vilar Vitor Salinas, 31, and Walmir Ruis Salinas Junior, 32, residents of the Santa Catarina neighborhood. Rita.
The process is necessary to make the dog sociable and prepare him for the training, done at the Training Center for Trainers and Instructors of Guide Dogs and Inclusion, located at the Instituto Federal Catarinense (IFC) Campus Camboriú.
“There are three steps. At this stage, we have to present the diversity of places, sounds, situations, for him to adapt”, explains Patricia. “The idea is to desensitize the dog to any kind of experience that he may have, so he doesn’t get scared or get too interested in something new, that makes him leave the role of guiding. That’s why the idea is to take it wherever we are”, adds Walmir.
The professor mentions, for example, the need to take the Sailor to places of everyday life and those that are part of social life, such as a nightclub. “Of course, it is necessary to respect the safety of all the dog’s senses, if it is loud, he will be suffering. The more experience he has before the work period, the easier it will be for him to guide,” he points out.
Patricia reports that the initiative to become volunteers took place after the couple got to know Sidnei and Braille. Despite the fear of responsibility, in November 2021 they registered with the IFC de Camboriú.
Sidnei explains that Marujo is a property of the federal government. He is given to the family to socialize for about 1 year, then he returns to the IFC for training and is subsequently adapted for a blind man.
The visually impaired enters a five-year lending process. After this period, if everything goes well, the dog will definitely belong to the user. “At any time the dog can be removed by the Institute in these initial five years, if something goes wrong”, he says.
Sidney says that, in addition to the IFC, the state also has the Helen Keller Guide Dog School, a philanthropic entity that trains and delivers guide dogs for free. “The problems are the lack of information and the visually impaired being unable to keep a guide dog. Its maintenance is the responsibility of the user,” she explains.
The socializing family, on the other hand, has no financial expenses with Marujo, the program pays for food and care. “We go once a month to the IFC in Camboriú, to receive instructions and for them to see how the dogs are doing. We teach him five basic commands, such as how to sit or stay, the place, the coming and the bathroom”, explains Patrícia.
“We always have to put ourselves in the position of who will receive the dog later, with this common sense we do the training”, continues Walmir.
Despite the Marujo being socializing in Brusque, it is not yet defined where he will go after training. That is, the dog can either accompany a visually impaired person in the city, or in another municipality in the country.
difficulties on the way
With the challenging task, the couple comes up against misinformation and non-compliance with the law. The Sailor carries an identification card, like a guide dog, which brings a copy of federal decree nº 5904, which allows the family to enter with the dog in public or private environments and remain in the place.
“Even when we introduce her to people, some say ‘here, he doesn’t come in’. They’ve come to ask people like this: ‘where’s the blind man? Bring the blind man here, then you can come in,’” says Patricia.
On the same day, the couple went with Marujo through three large bakeries in the city. They were stopped at all three locations. “In addition to playing this role of socializing the dog, we promote the project. In these bakeries, we didn’t call the police, we didn’t make complaints. We said ‘look, this is the decree, you read it and then we’ll come back’. In two, we returned and people authorized entry and admitted being uninformed. In the other, which was the most problematic, we still haven’t returned”, he continues.
The law provides for a fine to establishments that prohibit the entry of the guide dog or in socialization. The minimum fine is BRL 1,000 and a maximum of BRL 30,000. The penalties, in case of recurrence, are the prohibition of the establishment for a period of 30 days and the payment of a fine that can reach R$ 50 thousand.
Sidnei also reports difficulties, even after proving to be a person with a disability. “I’m even traumatized, I avoid taking Uber. I ask when I’m not in a hurry to arrive, because I’m already prepared to start a fight. Most of them don’t have a problem, but when they do, they go to the police and have a police report, if there’s a meeting scheduled, I wonder if the stress will be worth the trip”, he says.
“It is a relatively new movement in Brazil. This is one of the great difficulties that we have. The general population does not know and the hard part is raising awareness”, concludes Walmir.
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