City of Edmonton ArchivesArchives Unleashed 2007 Virtual Exhibit
In 1988, a brand new school opened in Edmonton. It was the only one of its kind in western Canada and it would change the lives of thousands. It was the Guide Dogs of Western Canada and it opened the doors of its new training centre on April 1st in an industrial area in south Edmonton. The centre trained not only Seeing Eye dogs; they also trained Hearing Ear dogs. Although Golden Retrievers and black or yellow Labradors are best suited for Seeing Eye dogs any breed can be trained for a Hearing Ear dog. Today many different breeds are used to predict seizures and assist paraplegics and other people with severe disabilities. Three decades before this event a Mr. D. Baker started a telephone circular magazine agency. Mr. Baker was severely crippled with arthritis but with the help of his cocker spaniel Bingy he was able to lead a productive life. Bingy would pick up dropped items off the floor for the disabled gentleman. Bingy didn’t know it but he was probably one of the first ‘service’ dogs.