Mayor takes a walk on the blind side
  • Wednesday 30 April 2014
Mayor Mark Jamieson guide dog Sunshine Coast Council Queensland Guide Dogs

Mayor Mark Jamieson today helped celebrate Guide Dog month, by taking some blind-folded steps along Cornmeal Creek Path with guide dog-in-training Kadan.

Guide Dogs Queensland CEO Chris Laine said she hoped the Mayor’s involvement helped promote the message of equal access to everyone in the community.

“We’re overjoyed to have Mayor Jamieson help celebrate Guide Dog Month with us and I’m sure this experience will be one he won’t soon forget,” Mrs Laine said

“While it’s always a challenge to give up your sight and put your entire trust in a guide dog to be your eyes, it’s also a really great experience and one I know he’ll enjoy.

“Seeing what a person with low or no vision can see while trying to remain active and mobile is definitely an eye-opener.

Mayor Jamieson said he was delighted to help draw attention to the important work of guide dogs.

“There is an increasing need for guide dogs across the state and it is important that there is support from communities like ours to be able to keep up with demand to ensure we have trained guide dogs to assist those in need,” he said.

“The Sunshine Coast is proud to be an inclusive community and it is fitting that we celebrate such an important event in our region.”

Mrs Laine said it was important to keep the message of equal access active in the community, with recent research revealing a generally low public awareness in Australia that guide dogs are legally allowed in the same places as sighted people – especially hospitality venues.

“Under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009, you cannot refuse entry to a guide dog user at accommodation, restaurants or any public space or transportation,” she said.

“With more and more guide dog users hitting Queensland streets, we need to get the message back out there that they share the same rights as a sighted person and deserve dignity and respect.  It can be very embarrassing to be challenged in front of a restaurant of diners – no one deserves that.”

Guide Dog Etiquette
• When a guide dog is in harness it is working. Whether it is walking, sitting or sleeping, it should not be patted, fed, or distracted.
• The guide dog must not be the centre of attention. A well-intentioned pat can undo months of training.
• Please talk to the person and not the guide dog.
• Please don’t grab the person or the dog’s harness. Ask if they need assistance first.
• If you provide assistance to the guide dog user, please walk on the person’s opposite side to the guide dog.
• Please make sure your pet dog is on a leash or under control around the guide dog. When approaching, it may be polite to let the person know that you have a dog.
• If you see a stray pet dog, please contact council.