Lara, the first guide dog in Greece, passed away at the age of 16. The black Labrador Retriever was a symbol for people with vision problems in the country.
Inspired by Lara, her owner, psychologist and blind by birth Ioanna-Maria Gertsou had established a Guide Dog School and named it after her.
Lara was the “Honorary president” of the dog school.
“When I first touched the handle that connected me with the dog, I knew: I knew I was going in one direction, but at the same time, I felt an unexpectedly intimate power, directing me somewhere else. I stuck my feet to the ground – only that I knew to do. Then I heard the trainer’s voice shouting: “Follow the Dog !!!” And that’s what I did: I, followed the Dog. Lara: 03/05/2003 – 26/03/19,” Gretsou posted on her Facebook page.
“The end of an era,” posted Lara Guide Dog School.
Being the first guide dog in Greece Lara helped to break taboos and had changed the situation for guide dogs in the country.
When she got her job in Greece the concept of guide dogs was almost unknown and the legal framework to allow access was non-existent. Due to Lara, guide dogs have legally full access in public transport means, trains, buses, hotels, restaurants, cafes, museums, shops.
“Thanks to her dedication, character and incredible patience, the Greeks learned, accepted and loved the guide dogs for the blind, Lara Guide Dog School posted.
Lara worked from 2005 to 2009 and until her death enjoyed a life with the full benefits and honors a retired dog can ask for.
She lived and traveled in many places around the world.
She crossed the rainbow bridge on Thursday.
Lara is survived by her owner, the second family guide dog May and a mourning community.