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International Guide Dog Day 2024

April 17, 2024
A Guide Dog walking on to a bus.

Almost every second journey for Guide Dog Handlers results in a refusal from a taxi or rideshare. And if they can’t get a ride, they can’t get to where they need to go.

Even though it’s the law to let Guide Dogs travel and access public and community spaces, refusals of access is sadly still a common experience for Guide Dog Handlers across Australia.

Dogs have always been man’s best friend but for those living with low vision or blindness, having a Guide Dog can also drastically increase quality of life of a person by providing greater freedom and independence.

However, reports from the community sadly reveal that one third were denied access to a public space over the course of 12 months. This includes refusals to taxis or rideshares (68%), food establishments (48%) and retail outlets (28%)*.

This international Guide Dog Day, we’re looking for people just like you, who will help share our message and become an ally to Guide Dog Handlers and their Guide Dogs. Join us to support the need for more access rights of people with low vision or blindness to allow them and their Guide Dogs to go where they need to go.

Visit the page to sign up.

Interesting facts from the International Guide Dog Federation

19,557 guide dogs are currently working worldwide. This means that 19,557 people who are blind or have low vision have the support of a guide dog to help them live life on their terms. This is a small decrease from the 20,281 guide dog teams working in 2022, as a result of decreased training numbers since the Covid-19 pandemic.

2,598 guide dogs were trained during 2023. The global Covid 19 pandemic had a severe impact on IGDF members around the world, but they showed resilience and creativity and found ways to continue to deliver these essential services. The 2023 figure of 2,598 is an improvement on the 2022 figure of 2,426, the 2021 total of 2,405 and the 2020 figure of 2,038, but further work is needed to return to the pre-pandemic levels of 3,000 guide dogs being trained each year.

9,312 guide dog puppies started guide dog training during 2023. This is a substantial increase on the 7,462 puppies who started guide dog training during 2022. The Covid 19 pandemic had a severe impact on guide dog training and guide dog waiting lists have increased worldwide. IGDF member organisations are determined to increase guide dog provision and reduce the time people have to wait for a guide dog. These new puppies are the guide dogs of the future.

Find out more from the IGDF

*2021 Guide Dogs Australia, Guide Dog Handlers Survey