After revelations that guide dogs are coming under increasing attack by other dogs, charity Guide Dogs For The Blind has been examining means of tackling the issue. Early trials in replacing Labradors with a breed more capable of sticking up for itself were abandoned after a guide pitbull left its owner not only blind but quadraplegic, and a guide Rottweiler dragged its owner 2 miles down the North Circular in pursuit of a pizza delivery moped.
New efforts are focusing on counselling and assertiveness training, with image consultants giving GDFTB a brand relaunch as ‘StreetDogs – eye, eye!’. We spoke to a StreetDogs spokesman, who was wearily attempting to get a plump Labrador in a low-rider harness and fresh leg tattoos to hang from a branch by its teeth. “Much of the problem is image”, said Steve Dodds, “frankly, with their hi viz harnesses and road safety awareness, guide dogs have come across as wet and nerdy, which is just a magnet for bullying. Sometimes I want to kick them myself”
Reaction from the dogs’ owners to the makeover has been equivocal. “It was getting to be a pain putting my hand down to pat Dolly only to find her being savagely humped by a Staffie”, said visually impaired Ryan Ayres, “but I’ve just figured out her new body piercings spell Up Yours, Stevie Wonder in Braille’