An anonymous Stomper complained about a big dog on the MRT, saying she was afraid that the dog might suddenly attack her and her baby.
TBH, I thought the existence of guide dogs is common knowledge, but I guess not.
It turns out that the dog is (evidently) a guide dog, and belongs to a Paralympic swimmer with a sight impairment. The swimmer has since responded on TikTok, and clarified some misconceptions about guide dogs.
Here’s what happened.
Complain on Stomp: “MRT Staff Just Ignored It”
An anonymous Stomper submitted a complaint about a guide dog in her MRT cabin on 18 November.
She said that two people came into the same cabin that her and her baby were in, and that they were “carrying a big dog”.
“There was one MRT staff, but he just ignored it,” shared the lady, saying that the staff should have talked to them.
“The MRT is catered to people, not big dogs.”
The Stomper also said that she was worried that the dog would suddenly attack her, especially since she had her baby with her in a pram.
The best part? She sent in a picture of the guide dog, which was clearly wearing a yellow harness with text on it.
If the lady just took a better look at the “big dog”, she would have seen the text saying, “Do not distract. Guide dog at work.”
Guide Dogs Allowed on MRTs
In response to this complaint, the Community Partnership Team at Guide Dogs Singapore clarified that guide dogs are specially trained dogs that definitely won’t attack a random lady or baby.
“Guide dogs are docile and do not disturb or bark at others and they are always kept close to their handlers,” they stated.
Additionally, under the Rapid Transit Systems Act, guide dogs accompanying a person with sight or hearing impairment are permitted to be on public transport.
Paralympic Swimmer Responds
It turns out that the dog is Orinda, a guide dog belonging to Sophie Soon, a Paralympic swimmer with a sight impairment.
View this post on Instagram
She took to TikTok to share that the woman in the Stomper’s photo is actually her and that the dog is her guide dog Orinda.
@sophsoon Whether you’ve seen this article or not, I hope this vid gave you some basic info on guide dogs! Do leave any more questions you have for me. 😊 #sgtiktok #guidedog #accessibility ♬ original sound – sophsoon – Sophie 🏊🏼♀️🦮💙
Expressing her thanks to the commenters that have defended Orinda, Soon then clarified misconceptions surrounding guide dogs.
She explained that guide dogs undergo intensive training for the first two years of their lives, and that they have to pass a lot of tests.
In fact, not all dogs end up passing the tests, and fail to become guide dogs. For those who pass the tests and graduate from guide dog school, they still need to undergo three to four weeks of additional training with their new handler.
It is only after such a lengthy and thorough process that the dogs are allowed into public spaces with their owner. Guide dogs are allowed everywhere legally, except restaurant kitchens and surgery rooms.
In fact, Orinda has accompanied her owner on flights before, let alone MRT trains. She certainly isn’t a danger to anyone.
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Featured Image: Stomp, Instagram (Sophie Soon)
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