|STATUS||Goat farmer & former clinical social worker|
|HOBBIES||Horseback riding, goalball & cycling|
|GUIDE DOG||Triton – German Shepherd|
Shell fragments blinded Uri, a soldier in Israel’s First Lebanon War. To maintain his independence, he immediately requested a guide dog, a major undertaking in the 80s since no guide dog schools existed in Israel at that time.
Fortunately, since the Israel Guide Dog Centre for the Blind began in 1991, Uri has since benefited from our guide dogs – trained in Hebrew – using state-of-the-art methods specially adapted for the challenging conditions in Israel.
Uri’s life has been exceptionally active and multi-faceted. At a rehab facility for injured soldiers, he discovered the joys of horseback riding and began training in competitive riding, placing sixth overall in England’s World Paralympics Championships. He also earned his Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Tel Aviv University and his Masters in treating addictions, and for several years, counseled private patients and groups.
Today, Uri, his wife, Rachel, their four children, house pets, chickens, and horses live on a large goat farm. Rachel operates a pre-school on the farm, while Uri devotes his time to raising his family and tending to the goats.
For many years, Uri’s guide dog Polly had been his devoted companion and guide. But, when Polly needed to retire, Uri told us he wanted his new dog to be a German Shepherd. The problem was we were only going to start breeding them next year. (Most of our dogs are Labradors, Golden Retrievers and a first-cross Golden-Lab mix.)
So we turned to one of our partner organization in the U.S. – Guiding Eyes for the Blind. It was a true paws-across-the-sea partnership as Guiding Eyes provided the German Shepherd, bred and nurtured him, and brought him across the ocean to our Centre in Israel. We then trained him – in Hebrew – to become a guide dog. And now the dog – named Triton – acts like a true Israeli!
Uri’s story typifies how we help visually impaired Israelis by pairing them with guide dogs – restoring their independence and ability to move around freely and safely, opening opportunities for education and careers, enabling them to enjoy social and recreational activities, marriage and children – in short, life. As Uri said to us, “It’s like taking a prisoner and releasing him from his handcuffs.”
It’s like taking a prisoner and releasing him from his handcuffs.
A full guide dog partnership costs the Israel Guide Dog Centre £30,000 and our clients nothing, as we give them this service free of charge. To help us provide more trained guide dogs for people like Uri please donate today.