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Amit Patel lost his sight in 2012 after being diagnosed with Keratoconus, a condition in which, according to the National Keratoconus Foundation, “the normally round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins causing a cone-like bulge to develop.” He had eight cornea transplants, but they were rejected by his body. Since then, Patel has traveled around London, where the former A&E doctor and his wife Seema and son live, with help from his guide dog, Kika.
Most decent humans don’t hit guide dogs or accost someone who’s blind for taking an extra second to do something that comes easily to people who can see, but not everyone. Patel strapped a GoPro camera on Kika to highlight the abuse they go through every day. “They have loads of space to get past, but they seem to think it is fun to barge into a blind person,” he told the Daily Mail. “Kika always sits to my left hand side so we often block the escalator and people will hit her with bags and umbrellas to get her to move out of the way. The worst part is the tutting and negative comments behind me. People are so rude and arrogant and assume they can do whatever they want.”
When Amit and Kika return home, Seema reviews the footage and posts it to Twitter, where @Kika_GuideDog has over 1,500 followers and counting. Sometimes the videos are sad (“It really scares Kika sometimes — I can feel how upset she gets, and when I get upset, she senses it and she won’t go on the escalators for a few days”), and sometimes they’re frustrating (“Sometimes I get a train with my four-month-old son and I say quite loudly, ‘Kika, find me a seat,’ but no one budges”), but Patel has a strategy for dealing with people like the lady who took up two seats: one for herself and one for her shopping bag. “Sometimes the only way I get a seat is to scratch Kika behind the ears so she shakes a little,” he explained. “No one likes a wet dog.”
Not everyone at the train station is a jerk, though. Patel told Mashable about the time “I got off at the wrong station and Kika got lost.” He continued, “A guy saw me from the distance and walked over to me, touched me on the shoulder, and asked if I needed help. He took me all the way to the right one.”
Kika is almost always on the job, but even she gets her days off.
For more information about guide dogs, head to Action for Blind People.
(Via the Daily Mail)