Thu, Nov 26, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Guide dog retires with academic cap honor

By Wu Po-hsuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A guide dog and its keeper, Chang Ya-hui, left, an employee at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, pose for a photograph yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The guide dog of a visually impaired staff member at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) yesterday was the honored guest at an award ceremony held by the university to celebrate the dog’s retirement.

The award ceremony for nine-year-old Labrador, Tasi (塔希), organized by the NTUST office of student affairs, was attended by student affairs dean Wang Chaur-jeng (王朝正), who gave Tasi an academic cap, moving the tassel to the left — symbolizing graduation — to celebrate the dog’s retirement.

“Tasi is a good-natured and friendly dog who had won the affection of everyone at the office, even those who are afraid of dogs,” Tasi’s owner Chang Ya-hui (張雅惠) said.

Chang was blinded 11 years ago in a laboratory explosion at NTUST, where she was a graduate student in mechanical engineering. She finished her degree and, in 2009, was hired by the university’s student affairs office. Tasi became her guide dog that same year, she said.

For seven years, Tasi went to the office with Chang daily, and is well-liked by Chang’s colleagues as well as the students, she said.

As a guide dog, Tasi had “a lot of pressure and many responsibilities” because it is a service dog’s responsibility to ensure its owner “comes home safely every evening,” Chang said.

Tasi is retiring to the countryside with Chang’s parents so that the dog can enjoy the rest of its life in good health, Chang said.

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