Canine Devotion and Dedication: The ONCE Guide Dog Foundation (In Spanish)   
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Today’s Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants will be presented in Spanish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Thai and Spanish.

Welcome excellent viewers to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Today we’ll visit a guide dog school in Madrid, Spain which is operated by the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation. The Spanish National Organization for the Blind, or ONCE, was started over 70 years ago to offer aid and social services to blind and otherwise visually impaired Spaniards.

The Foundation, which began in 1990, currently has a staff of 60 and trains approximately 100 guide dogs a year. Mr. Eloy Aranda, guide dog instructor for the Foundation will now kindly give us a tour and introduce the school.

We are at the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation, an entity in charge of training guide dogs for blind people and supervising these dogs with their human users for the dog’s entire working life. The school is located at the end of Boadilla del Monte, here in Madrid, in facilities of about 100,000 square meters in size. This entire complex would not be possible without ONCE.

ONCE is our biggest supporter and is in charge of the expenses related to the process of training these animals, and afterwards, of their adaptation to working with blind people.

How do canes, which are used by many blind and visually impaired people to get around, compare to having a guide dog for assistance?

Guide dogs are different from a cane in several aspects. In the first place, a cane is a cold tool for movement; the guide dog is a living being, warm. A cane, too, when you make the decision to cross a street, if one makes a mistake in crossing the street, the cane won’t ever stop you, and the dog will. And above all, as to what a dog is for, they facilitate social help, they are going to be a bridge, a link with the rest of the sighted people.

How many times have we seen a person with a cane on the street, at the crosswalk lane and we found it hard to get closer to him or her to offer our help? The dog on the street acts as a bridge. Some people are interested in the dog and they end up talking to the blind person. So, we can say that they are a link to society.

The guide dog spends many more hours in a day in the company of a human being than working. The guide dog might work three or four hours a day, for example, yet there are another 20 hours in which his social behavior must be exceptional more than anything else because actually, the blind person won’t know whether that dog gets up on the bed, etc., etc.

Which dog breeds are best suited to be guide dogs?

The ones that adapt the best, the most reliable and above all the most likely candidates to be trained from the start are all colors of Labrador Retrievers. We use yellow, black, chocolate; we don’t discriminate between colors, just as we don’t discriminate between races.

We also use Golden Retrievers; we also use German Shepherds and we also frequently use a cross between the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever, a mix that gives us very good candidates when it comes to working as a guide dog. We have to remember something that is fundamental, a guide dog is not born, he/she is made.

We need a whole range of temperamental qualities from which we can select between their sensitivity, their ability to concentrate, their will to work, their flexibility, and based on these qualities we shape the behavior the dog will have later on; that is to say, what we really do is to shape what the guide dog’s job is, because the dog is not born knowing how to guide.

Mr. Aranda will now introduce us to the school’s wonderful, intelligent guide dogs!

This is a Labrador dog, three blacks.

They are so beautiful. Wait, I’m going to say hallo. Hi, hi baby, hallo, hallo, hi.

We are now with the dogs I have in training. As we can see there are many sizes, a variety of breeds, a variety of sexes, because what we are interested in is a diversity of individuals. Here we have a black Labrador; this one is a yellow Labrador.

Oh, she is so cute.

Sure, this one in here, she is a Labrador crossed with a Golden (Retriever). I previously mentioned that they look like a Labrador on the outside but have only one difference: a bit more fringe on the tail. And here we have a German Shepherd.

Very good.

Tuste, Tuste, he is good, eh? And Kaspian? Kaspian is good, yes! Kaspian is good and more handsome, Kaspian is good, eh? Sure. Hi Seika, Seika is good. See, here they are all Labradors.

Yes.

These are pure Labradors; we have all of them: yellow, white, through to cinnamon, even though this one is almost brown.

Yes, yes.

When we return, we’ll have more from the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation school in Madrid, Spain. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Let’s go see Lay, who, as I’ve been told, has had puppies recently.

Yes, three days ago.

“Three days,” Patricia says. Patricia is one of our co-workers.

Hallo Patricia, are you going to show us the new puppies?

Look, this is the mum.

She will say “hi.”

What a beautiful mum! Hallo! Hi!

And you will hear…

Yes, yes.

You will hear the puppies

Yes, yes

She is acknowledging all of us as usual, in order to find out if we are trustworthy people.

Let’s go and see your babies, okay? Ay, ay, what a cute little thing. Look, look.

Ole, ay, nice, you’re very good, huh?

What a cutie. You have such beautiful babies, huh? How lovely they are! Look.

Welcome back to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants as we continue our tour of the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation school in Madrid, Spain. But first, let’s meet Runa.

Runa, what are you doing here again, little Runa? Look at the cute little thing. You’re so gorgeous.

Her name is Runa, and she has just been born. Her mother Tania is a special dog. The ONCE Guide Dog Foundation selected her based on her good health and attitude. This is because her pups will have an important function, to work as guide dogs.

Now we’ll follow Mr. Aranda to the kennel halls.

Now we are at one of the big windows of the central part of the kennel halls and in one of the outdoor parks. We can see one of the early stimulation zones for puppies. For us it is very important that the dogs not have fears or become fearful when they are adults. To achieve that we rely on this type of facility where the school staff, along with those puppies, teach and help them to develop confidence in terms of, say, textures of the floor.

We can see that there are different textures, plastic, with holes, and then another important factor for us is that the dogs not be afraid of heights, that they do not feel vertigo, because dogs also suffer from vertigo, like people. They are living beings and we have many behavior patterns in common.

Then we can see that we have small children’s sleds, we have areas where there are corridors and tunnels, and this is what helps to improve and develop the dog’s confidence.

Runa, you are out again?

Having hardly learned to walk, Runa spends the day playing. She doesn’t know it but she is taught from a young age to adapt to different surroundings and situations. Her education starts as a game. As an adult, she must be an intelligent, decisive and obedient dog. Runa meanwhile is unaware of her future, and she spends the days amusing herself with her brothers and sisters and minders.

After a month and a half, the puppies transition to a new living environment and stay with a loving family.

Now, I’d like to mention something that is extremely important; and that is, from the time these 45-day-old puppies are placed in a family, the family receives free support in every aspect of raising the puppy like in the following areas: maintenance expenditures and veterinary costs are for free (the school takes care of all of them). Besides, they have guaranteed access to the subway, bus, train, department stores, any place within Madrid.

This is only for the city of Madrid at the moment, since it is a requirement that all dog trainers live within a 50-kilometer radius of the school at the most; that way our co-workers from the puppy section can make two, three visits daily to different puppies.

Today is a very special day. Anna and her two daughters Sara and Anita have come to the Foundation to pick up Runa.

The dog always has to go out with his vest on.

And can you take her to the cinema?

Yes, yes, wherever you want.

From almost 10 months, they will be her adopted parents. And as such will be responsible for her education. To that end, they’ll always count on help from the school supervisors who will be watching the puppy’s progress closely.

After 10 months with their foster families, the quickly growing puppies return to the school.

The day when Runa has to return to the school to begin her training has arrived. She is twelve months old and not the puppy she was at first.

Well, you knew it already, right? It’s her turn to start working. That’s why you’ve raised her with all the love and all the affection in the world, Have you liked the experience, yes? Sure? I am sure you want another puppy, yes? Ok, but don’t be sad, okay?

From this point on what she saw is a game, is to become specific training to turn her into an excellent guide dog. There will be several months of training, after which she will be taken under the guidance of an instructor. After that the dog will have to assume some responsibilities.

The ONCE Guide Dog Foundation is doing a wonderful job in readying canines to assist the blind and visually impaired of Spain. To find out more about guide dog training, please join us tomorrow for Part 2 of our program, where the kind-hearted Mr. Eloy Aranda will give us more insights about the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation school and its canine students. For more details on the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation, please visit

Sweet viewers, thank you for your company today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Up next is Enlightening Entertainment after Noteworthy News. May you always be blessed with Heaven’s grace.
Today’s Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants will be presented in Spanish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Thai and Spanish.

Welcome, virtuous viewers, to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Today on Part 2 of our program we’ll further examine a guide dog school in Madrid, Spain operated by the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation. The Spanish National Organization for the Blind, or ONCE, was started over 70 years ago to offer aid and social services to blind and otherwise visually impaired Spaniards.

The Foundation, which began in 1990, currently has a staff of 60 and trains approximately 100 guide dogs a year. Mr. Eloy Aranda, a guide dog instructor at the school, is giving us a tour of its facilities.

Right now we are inside one of the many sections of the school; we are in the dog kennel. The kennel here is one of the main areas. We have to say that the kennels are one of the centers that require the most staff and attention. We would like to highlight that we try to give the dogs dignified living conditions and the best treatment possible, attending to, above all, the specific needs of every dog.

In every two kennels there’s an outlet to a concrete yard, so each internal kennel has a capacity for four dogs. So, we can say that up to eight dogs gather in each outdoor yard. Based on our philosophy of respect for the dog, of respect for their habitat and their way of communication and their language, being able to observe the dogs relating to their own kind is fundamental.

We believe that dogs are animals that live in groups, and as such we must observe them. Many times we learn things from them, a lot of things, observing them among their own species, because when they deal with us they have a tendency to cover certain skills, certain ways of being. That’s exactly why we like to respect their environment, we like to respect their space.

The facilities are quite extensive, so they can be very calm and relaxed. Another feature that the kennel has is that it has radiant heating wires. The wires go below (the floor) and the dogs won’t be cold.

Although the normal temperature at which a dog feels comfortable is between eight or 10 degrees (Celsius), we want the dog to get used to the temperature at which they are going to later coexist with humans like, 20 or 22 degrees (Celsius). In this way the dog gets used to it and has less of a change to their fur coat if there is a change from a cold site to a warmer place.

The Foundation’s dedicated staff works round the clock to ensure the guide dogs’ welfare and safety.

There are personnel here 24 hours a day, precisely so as to avoid dogs having anxiety; they are calm and well cared for. Then, staff is here from seven in the morning to 10:00 pm, and then there is one shift at night, which is in charge from 10 pm to seven am when the main shift begins, so the dogs are monitored 24 hours a day. We believe that by giving more attention to the dogs, the dogs in exchange will give you much more.

How about play time outside? These guide dogs-to-be have plenty of opportunities to experience sunshine and fresh air.

Here we have each wing that consists of 10 kennels and is intended for training. In each interior park there’s four dogs, but every two internal kennels has access to an outdoor park, so that the dogs when they are in here, they are not locked in a kennel, they are doing exercise. Besides this, we have earthen-ground parks too.

There are triangular parks in between every block and it makes better use of the land, since it is a more natural environment for the dog, and above all, it prevents their toes from chapping. The firm cement is not convenient for them to be standing on for too many hours; it’s too static; they can get their paws chapped.

Here on the ground, they can exercise much more, they can run and with this wide open space. They can have the feeling of freedom. We never tie up the dogs, they are always loose; no leashes and no collars.

Oh, very good.

In the morning, before leaving to work in Madrid we let them go run and do exercise, because later when we arrive to the work areas, our mission is that during the 40 or 45 minutes that we have for the dog, the dog demonstrates fewer signs of excitability, so all that excess energy, especially physical, has already worked out through the exercise that they do early in the morning, and when they arrive to Madrid, we don’t need five or 10 minutes of work for them to be able to have the kind of concentration that the work requires.

Guide dogs must deal with many distractions when leading their human companions. How are they prepared for this demanding task? Eloy Aranda shows how the dogs are made to feel comfortable working in a variety of settings.

Now what we’re going to do, basically, is to teach what an obstacle path is like, what the movement is and sorting out the fixed solid obstacles, okay? Initially we, as a general rule, in all work, whether the job is to find an outer curb, an interior curb, to find a staircase, to walk downstairs or to walk upstairs, be it an escalator or normal stairs, there is one concept we are most interested in: to teach the dog to move in a straight line.

When we return, we’ll have more from the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation school in Madrid, Spain. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

I like this dog a lot. She knows how to make decisions and to be agreeable. I like her a lot. Now I would like to start thinking about the person that she will be paired up with.

Welcome back to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants as we continue our tour of the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation school in Madrid, Spain. Eloy Aranda, guide dog instructor at the school, now explains more about one of the most challenging skills a guide dog must learn.

It is the most difficult thing to teach a dog to walk in a straight line, whatever the situation is. Why? Because there are a multiple number of stimuli which are going to inhibit movement in a straight line.

The dog will have to keep going in a straight line, moving with his user at least until one of two things happens: one, that the user stops at a point and decides to turn right, left or go back and straight, or two, he gets to a point in the environment in which the environment itself blocks the path, and then he has to ask the dog what is the next path to follow.

That is the concept we call “straight line.” On that straight line is where we start to work with the curbs, obstacles, obstructions in the pavement, and the traffic.

Yesterday in Part 1 of our program we met Runa. How is her training progressing?

Runa’s lessons are being carried out in the street with real obstacles that an apprentice dog needs.

When you walk through the streets with a walking stick it’s completely different. An animal sees, right? It’s not the same with a walking stick, which is just a stick. It doesn’t see anyone.

They are at a bus shelter. The guide dog must locate the bus, which is not always stationed in the same place. The animal is trained to go right up to the door of the bus.

In the subway, each station is different. Therefore it is the person who must guide the dog using his or her sense of hearing and touch. The dog distinguishes doors and spaces between cars, and going up stairs.

Very good, very good.

It’s a case of teamwork.

Okay, then month after month we would be building up this work on the street. Of course on the street there are many more stimuli, there is noise, there is traffic, there are smells, dogs, bikes, and there are people that distract dogs when they are working. Then we have to teach the dog to discriminate, teach them that all those things are not of interest, depending on what we want to project.

At times it’s best for guide dogs to rely on their own judgment. Mr. Aranda next describes such situations.

Finally, at the end of the training we are looking for the dog to develop a concept that for us is paramount; that is, intelligent disobedience. Intelligent disobedience is a response from the dog to respect the environment instead of the person’s decision. It is clear that a user who is blind or barely sighted may make a mistake in giving a spacial command to the dog in the environment, and the dog will have to first obey the conditions of the environment over obedience to the person.

Here we go, let’s continue… I will make her go to the obstacles and we will see if she is able to discriminate between what I ask her and what is around her. This is what we were talking about before, intelligent disobedience.

Runa’s instruction continues. One of the gauges used to measure learning progress is the intelligent disobedience test. Here the dog is to ignore a command to move forward when an unexpected car appears.

Very good, very good.

What’s the hallmark of a guide dog that can lead his or her human companion in an appropriate manner?

We look for a dog that is confident, especially we must have control over the speed he goes, the pace he goes and the tension. It is most important that the tension between the body of the dog and our hand is not too loose, but the dog wants to pull, the dog has to pull because he knows, he is conscious, he has to guide me. Now we are going to let her go on her own initiative, without telling her anything else.

We’d like to express our sincere thanks to Mr. Eloy Aranda for giving us an in-depth tour of the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation school. The Foundation’s hard-working staff and guide dogs are truly special and wonderful. We wish the Foundation all the best in reaching more of Spain’s blind and visually impaired citizens in years to come. For more details on the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation, please visit

Thank you for joining us on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Up next is Enlightening Entertainment after Noteworthy News. May Divine Providence always guide you.

Fowl Play, a documentary by Mercy for Animals, shows the lives of hens in egg production facilities. You’ll discover that it is an existence that no being should ever have to endure, even for a second.

How can you not take an active role to stop this? This has to stop! It’s not okay, any rational human being that saw this would agree this is not okay.

We invite you to watch “Fowl Play – An Award-Winning Documentary by Mercy for Animals,” this Tuesday, January 12 on Stop Animal Cruelty.

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