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Trained-to-help dogs have their day

THE Expo introduced three animal stars yesterday.

The canine trio - a guide dog, a signal dog and a mobility assistance dog, all from Japan - strutted their stuff on the opening week of the Life and Sunshine Pavilion, the first pavilion in the 159-history of world expos especially designed for people with disabilities.

Guide dogs have been familiar to Chinese people. The other two kinds of dogs are being seen in China for the first time.

Three members of Morning Musume, a popular Japanese girl singers' group, emceed the dog show.

The guide dog, white in color, is trained to guide a blind person to walk along the inside of the road and change direction automatically when coming to a corner.

It can also guide the host to go around obstacles and pause before stairs to make sure the host is aware of the steps.

The mobile assistance dog, black with shiny fur, was an audience favorite, shaking its tail as it did its job in helping the wheelchair-bound.

It was so strong that it could drag the wheelchair of its host to climb up a slope. When its host dropped a pen or a coin on the ground, the dog picked it up. If the host couldn't find something like a mobile phone, the dog helped him find it quickly.

It's also trained to take what the host wants from the refrigerator.

"It is just like hands and legs of a disabled person. I wish I could have such a dog," said Lin Hong, a visitor sitting in a wheelchair.

The last performer was a small signal dog, trained to help deaf people.

When it heard the phone ring, it would touch the host with its front claws instead of barking. The dog is especially helpful when it walked outdoors with its host. When it hears a car horn, it alerts its owner by touching him or her with his front legs.

The dogs will perform twice a day during the week.

The theme of the Life and Sunshine Pavilion is elimination of discrimination, alleviation of poverty, passion for life and a fair society.


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