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Ms. Suzuki is a trombone soloist. She offers trombone classes in Kanagawa prefecture, a neighboring prefecture of Tokyo. She also gives music concerts all over Japan so she travels with her guide dog, Nancy, at her left side and a trombone at her right side.
Ms. Suzuki also plays in an orchestra. Before she got a guide dog, she was feeling lazy to go out but now she feels more confident to travel independently which has enabled her to participate in the orchestra. Walking with a guide dog has extended Ms. Suzuki's range of activities. Thus, she thinks that her decision to have a guide dog was an excellent one. However, since they have spent a long time together, Nancy is getting closer to retirement. She now faces the reality of Nancy's future retirement, so she plans to enjoy her time until Nancy retires by going to concerts, traveling and going out for fun.
Due to her profession, Ms. Suzuki has many opportunities to be in the limelight. Given that there are only around 1,000 guide dogs in Japan at this moment and that her own guide dog has been so integral to her fulfilling and independent life, she feels strongly that her mission is to promote the necessity of guide dogs in the hope of increasing the number of guide dogs.
Mr. Takahashi who lives in Ehime Prefecture of Shikoku Region has a dual disability, with a visual impairment and hearing loss. However he has overcome his disabilities to; teach in a school for people with a visual impairment, lecture in a university, and work as a representative or director of several groups of visually and hearing impaired people. Furthermore, he is active not only in the Shikoku Region but throughout in the widespread field. He was only the sixth person in Japan, with both a visual and hearing impairment, to be provided with a guide dog and the first such case for the Japan Guide Dog Association.
Previously when Mr. Takahashi walked alone, he was feeling danger all the time because he bumped into cars or found himself in the middle of a crossing without noticing it. Now he can walk safely with his guide dog, Forry. Initially, it was difficult for Mr. Takahashi, who had never had a dog before, to take care of Forry. However, the safety that Forry brought to Mr. Takahashi went beyond the confidence to walk alone but became a "guarantee to be able to live." He has overcome the difficulties of rearing a dog and now feels that he has regained his life saying, "I can work more diligently now with motivation in life. And I can live enthusiastically."
Mr. and Mrs. Nakashiba live in Hiroshima Prefecture, which is located in the western part of Japan. They run an acupuncture and moxibustion therapy and massage clinic, which is a 15 minute walk from their home, and both have a visual impairment. They wanted a guide dog to assist them to independently and confidently commute between home and work and to expand their horizons.
Ole is a guide dog that walks with both Mr. and Mrs. Nakashiba In addition to walking with one person at a time, Ole can walk with Mr. and Mrs. Nakashiba together using a method called Tandem, in which one person holds the harness while the other walks aside holding their partner's arm.
In Japan, the number of guide dogs is still small, and people are not used to seeing guide dogs enter stores. Thus, in Mr. and Mrs. Nakashiba's neighborhood, several stores display stickers of guide dogs so that other customers learn about their important role. Now local people warmly watch the couple and Ole.
On non-working days, Mr. and Mrs. Nakashiba work out at a sports club, which is about an hour by bus and train. When they come home, they give Ole a massage to keep him healthy and energized, to thank Ole who plays such an integral part in their healthy and enjoyable life.