Last week the tables were turned, when instead of taking her dog TJ for a walk, the Member of Parliament for Eastleigh, Mims Davies, was led through Eastleigh blindfolded by guide dog Gyp to demonstrate the challenges faced by Eastleigh’s blind and partially sighted community.
Commenting afterwards, Eastleigh MP Mims Davies said:
“First of all I would like to thank the amazing team from Guide Dogs for organising this for me. I have to admit to having never felt so disorientated and so reliant on man’s best friend, in this case Gyp, to get around the town.
"It was really interesting to experience how Gyp ensures that the person he is guiding is able to overcome the varying road and pavement surfaces, as well as navigate local street furniture.
"The expert training that goes in to guide dogs was demonstrated perfectly by Gyp, but I also recognise the hugely valuable work that goes in to supporting people and ensuring that they are able to get the most out of what is an incredibly valuable asset.
"It has always been a real pleasure to support the Guide Dogs team and their campaigns, and this was a really insightful walk, allowing me to even better understand the challenges faced by some of my constituents on a daily basis.
"I look forward to continuing to work with those constituents, Guide Dogs and others on how we can work to make navigating our streets and pavements as easy as possible.”
Meanwhile, Eastleigh resident, Cara Hughes, shared her experience:
“Cyclists on the pavement are a real issue for me. I have been hit whilst people cycle by. I would really appreciate it if cyclists could be more careful around me and my guide dog. It would be helpful if cyclists could use their bells.
"Cars parked on pavements are difficult too, I have to walk out in to the road. Please do think about others.”