DIFFICULTIES IN GUIDE DOG TRAINING
Other provinces and regions have begun to develop guide dog training bases in the past few years, including Shanghai and Fujian. But they all face difficulties.
"The most difficult thing is money," Wang says.
Training a dog to work with a blind or visually impaired person typically takes a year and a half. Around 120,000 yuan (19,000 U.S. dollars) is then required every year for training, food and vet care.
As a non-profit organization, the Guide Dog Training Base of China doesn't charge applicants. And most of its funding was provided by the Dalian Municipal Bureau of Finance, the China Disabled Person's Federation and donations from social communities and personal.
But the money is only enough to maintain the status quo, says Wang, adding that the low monthly salary is not attractive to employees while "another difficulty is a lack of skills in the job market."
Chinese universities and colleges have no courses on guide dog training. Although some grads have majored in zoology, they have to learn how to train ordinary dogs into guide dogs by themselves.
"China has complex road conditions and large numbers of people and vehicles, therefore we cannot copy the training experiences of the United States and Japan. We need to explore by ourselves," explains Wang.