‘Guide Horse’ Trained to Help Blind Man With Fear of Dogs
- A visually impaired man with a fear of dogs has been given the UK’s first guide horse.
Mohammed Patel, 23, from Blackburn, Lancashire, will have an 8-month-old horse called Digby help him with day-to-day tasks.
The Amercian miniature horse, that is two feet high, will be ready to move in with the 23-year-old BBC journalist after completing two years of training.
“He needs to get used to being out and about Blackburn,” Patel told the Lancashire Telegraph.
“I also think I will have to give myself an extra hour to try to get around my daily routine as people will all want to come and see it and touch it,” he said.
Patel, who has a dog phobia, has an inherited eye condition called Retinitis pigmentosa, according to Metro.
— Lancashire Telegraph (@lancstelegraph) February 5, 2018
Once Digby is fully trained, he will move into a miniature stable in Patel’s garden, the Guardian reported.
The animal’s trainer, Katy Smith fits her horses with nappies [diapers], that are also known as “thunder pants,” according to the Guardian. She added, “They’re almost like dogs. … It’s the way they watch you and want to be with you. They want to please you.”
Smith told the Telegraph that the horses are common in the United States, but Digby is thought to be the first guide horse in training in the UK.
She hopes that food standard agencies will allow guide or assistance animals like Digby to go into cafes and restaurants wearing the “thunder pants,” according to the Telegraph.
“Once the environmental health people say they’re happy with the underpants thing we’ll be one step closer,” she told the newspaper.
“Because it’s the first, it’s a question of going about it in the right way and getting people on our side and getting people aware of the positiveness of what a miniature horse can bring to helping someone to live a normal life.”