Beijing may finally allow guide dogs on public transport after the city approved a new draft of its Animal Epidemic Prevention Law. Currently, regulations in cities like Shenzhen and Chongqing allow people with visual disabilities to bring their guide dogs with them on buses and the metro. But in the capital, the rules are still upheld, making it difficult for owners and their helpers.
Beijing may finally allow guide dogs on public transport after the city
approved a new draft of its Animal Epidemic Prevention Law.
Chen Yan and her guide dog Jenny.
Chen Yan is a professional piano tuner. She says music is her life, but it wouldn’t have been much of a life without Jennifer, her guide dog.
Every day, the Labrador, helps Chen navigate her way around her community, safely through traffic and even to grab a bite. But there’s one place where Jennifer loses her professionalism at the subway.
"Every time they stop us from going in. They say pets cannot go in, even if they are guide dogs. When we tried this the 11th time, Jennifer just laid there and I knew she was crying." Chen said.
This time, with our TV crew, Chen thought things would go differently, but rules are rules.
"I haven’t got a notification saying guide dogs are allowed. If they notify me, I’m more than happy to have you on the subway." Beijing subway employee said.
And that’s despite objections from other passengers who say they have no problem riding with guide dogs.
In China, people are becoming increasingly familiar and comfortable with guide dogs. Surveys show that 16 million Chinese are blind or have visual impairments. But there are few guide dog organizations in the country, and only four to five helpers can be offered annually. Meanwhile, more than 50,000 people apply for one of the highly trained canines every year. In the US, the first country in the world to train guide dogs, there are about 10,000 working right now, in China, just 50.
Also living in the capital city with her guide dog is paralympic gold medalist Ping Yali.
Just like Chen Yan, getting around the metropolis is a daily struggle.
And today, the bus driver just happened to be understanding enough to allow her and her gold retriever on.
"I’m so happy and luck today. But I think that luck has to do with your camera." Ping said.
Ping says one of the biggest fears people have is her guide dog may attack if it’s provoked. And she creates a scenario to show us that that will never happen.
Instead of getting in the fray, all the golden retriever does is just pull its owner away.
For the visually impaired like Ping Yali and Chen Yan, their guide dogs are much more than pets. The dogs are faithful servants and friends. And they just want everyone else to see it the same way.