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Françoise and Utzi

For years I moved around only using a white cane. The cane traces lines on the ground from left to right, which does not give information on the entire sidewalk. The cane allowed me to detect certain obstacles on the ground, which explains why walking with a cane is not easy and only brings a very relative safety. In addition, it requires sustained concentration as costs a lot of energy.

Since July 2023, I have been travelling with Utzi, a black Labrador who is my 3rd guide dog. When I was introduced  to Utzi to see if the two of us would get along, we did a test walk together. It was mind-blowing. Utzi had clearly embraced me and I felt really confident and safe with him.

For the first instruction day, I had chosen to explore the metro and the Brussels-Central station, quite complex places. Utzi was comfortable and I also felt comfortable and confident. It felt so good that asked him to guide me to the Grand-Place and Manneken Pis, places he didn’t know. I knew that we were going to encounter a lot of pitfalls (narrow sidewalks, scooters, poles obstructing pedestrian crossings, terraces, crowds, …), but again, his work was remarkable, I felt like an ordinary “tourist”, without a disability.

Since I have been travelling with my guide dog, I have found much more ease in my movements and I am much less tired. My guide dog knows the meaning of a large number of commands such as left, right, forward, back, post, door, stairs up/down, ramp, escalator, elevator, mark (curb), lines (pedestrian crossing), tiles (raised tactile tiles) etc. When Utzi is confronted with new or complex situations, he understands very quickly what I expect from him and without hesitation, he finds his way for both of us.

It is therefore clear that the education and training that has been provided to my guide dog by SCALE DOGS has developed exceptional skills in him. I have therefore regained ease and confidence in my movements and more autonomy.  In the end, Utzi  greatly improves my quality of life and it allows me to have a richer social life.

Françoise Champenois –  Scale Dogs client (November 15, 2023)

Emily & Shiva

At the beginning of January 2022, I received the unexpected but very pleasant news that there was a possible match with Shiva. A week later, the presentation visit was extremely positive. It was clear that Shiva and I were going to start our adventure together and two weeks later she came to live with me.

From the very first moment, there was a very strong relationship between Shiva and me. The training course was intensive, exciting and rewarding. We made rapid progress together and, in the meantime, we’ve become an inseparable duo. As well as being a great help in my life, Shiva is also a fantastic member of the family.

Fortunately, Shiva is very active and loves to go everywhere with me. It’s a relief for me to go out with Shiva. Thanks to Shiva, I’m much more relaxed on the road, with fewer headaches, less eye pain and less fatigue. In just six months, we’ve already gained a great deal of trust in each other. I’m amazed at the precision and care with which she does her work.

Outside work, Shiva comes with me and my friend for walks, games and cuddles. These are real moments of relaxation for all of us. I also like to spoil her with toys and games.

I am very grateful to Scale Dogs for putting me in touch with Shiva.

Emily -SCALE DOGS beneficiary