In Maud et Claude we feel the need to do something meaningful for our society and do our utter best to find the right way to do so. When we first met Mónika Schiff aka Momo, the lovely lady from the Hungarian Guide Dog School in Budapest we instantly felt ‘This is it’, we need to do something to express how amazed and grateful we are for their hard work.
When we started to talk about partnership with the organisation I did some research on the subject as personally I had no idea what they do in the school at all.
In 1976 a fantastic idea has been turned into reality and the guide dog training has started in Hungary. Sir Janos Rithnovsky, the founder of the first Hungarian guide dog school, faced many difficulties during his lifelong fight to achieve his goal and establish professional guide dog training in Hungary.
In 1977 the government closed the school but all the people effected by its work fought for it and because of this in 1978 the school could reopen its doors, supported by the Hungarian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted.
Since the school reopened in 1978 they have trained 700-800 dogs, about 14-16 dogs a year. To train a guide dog it takes a lot of work and of course lot of money – around 2 million HUF per dog -, but there is a massive demand for these dogs. (Every year around 85 people are still on the waiting list…)
What they do at this school is very complex, it is not just about training the dogs.
The dogs has to be chosen very carefully, the puppies have to be socialised, trained and even when they are fully licensed working dogs they need to attend special follow up courses regularly with their new owners.
The pups usually spend their first year wit foster families and during this period. They are tested on several occasions to filter all behaviour or physical issues to make sure they will be perfectly fit to work on the side of blind or partially sighted people.
When they turn 1 year old and passed all tests the training can start in the school to learn everything what they need to know about the human world. They will know how to guide their owner with the most difficult obstacles around them, indicate directions or objects, can communicate to their owners e.g. if there are steps, crossings in the way. They have to know how to behave in different traffic situations, know distance and make decision about optimal solution for traffic issues.
Where the new owner is being introduced to the dogs they attend a course together to make sure they both settle well in the new situation and to get support from the trainer. Following this a trainer starts to work with the pair for a month to teach the dog how to move around and work in its new environment with the new owner. At the end of the month the guide dog and its owner has to pass a test to enable them to work together without every day support.
As you can see many things has to be done before we can see one of these amazing dogs making their way through a crowd on the streets and doing a spotless job to make someone else’s life easier.
All those hard working trainers and support staff at the Guide Dog School work every day around the clock to make sure there is less and less people on that long waiting list, but they need our help and support to do this.
Please look at our charity campaign #loveisblind and help us give a blind person a chance to live an easier life with a guide dog. Follow us on facebook and instagram to find out how you can take part in #loveisblind, but in the mean time come and meet us on 28th April 2018 at the $0th birthday of the Guide Dog School. Find detail here:
We celebrate 40 years of this amazing establishment, come and celebrate with us!