While it may be a surprise to many of us Malaysians, guide dogs for the blind are actually exceedingly rare. So rare in fact, that to date, the right for the visually impaired in Malaysia to have guide dogs is still a heavily contested issue within our country.
To date, LaShawn, a Labrador that was brought from China back to Malaysia by Stevens Chan Kum Fai, founder of non-profit organisation Dialogue in the Dark Malaysia, remains as one of the most recognisable faces in the fight for Malaysia’s visually impaired to keep guide dogs legally.
Trained at the Nanking Working Dogs Association in China for the explicit purpose of assisting the blind, LaShawn even made it into the Malaysian Book of Records for being the first guide dog in Malaysia, after he was legally brought back into Malaysia when he was just two years old to assist Stevens, who is visually impaired as well.
However, in a tragic turn of events, it was revealed through Dogs For Sight’s Facebook page, a non-profit advocacy group that Stevens runs, that LaShawn had passed away.
This comes after LaShawn was sent into a vetenary clinic and was warded on 29th April 2020 for kidney issues. His condition however, did not improve and he passed away yesterday (4th May 2020), according to Free Malaysia Today.
We hope that LaShawn will be able to rest in peace, and extend our deepest condolences to Mr Stevens during this difficult time. We also hope that guide dogs for the blind will one day be given a chance to be a part of Malaysia’s community, and offer help to those who need them the most.
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