They say that a dog is man’s best friend, and for Ed Landrath, his new canine companion is allowing him to experience Prince Rupert in a whole new way.
Landrath, a legally blind resident of Prince Rupert, and his seeing eye dog Annie, completed their qualification on Jan. 11 to be an official guide dog team.
Annie is the first seeing eye dog to come to Prince Rupert through the BC and Alberta Guide Dogs program, and Landrath said he is excited about the new opportunities he will have to explore the city with her.
“She has given me a lot of freedom that I never had,” Landrath said. “I used to cocoon myself at home and only go out when I had to, but now I can go any time I want.”
The program took place over three weeks, where Landrath developed a rapport with a Annie, a gorgeous golden retriever, and learned the commands and basics of how to take care of her.
After training for two weeks in Tsawwassen, Landrath returned to Prince Rupert for the last week of training where he and Nick Toni, a trainer for BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, taught Annie the routes he commonly uses throughout town.
Toni said it took Landrath a few days to bond with Annie, but after some practice, they became inseparable. Now that the training is complete, Toni said Landrath will benefit from increased independence as well as mobility.
“Now he can just walk out his front door, he can pick up that harness and off he goes,” Toni said. “He doesn’t have to wait for anybody, he can do his thing and get what he needs to get. It’s just going to open up his whole life.”
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Matthew Allen | Reporter
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