[Capture the World With Galaxy S21] Celebrating Our Essential Furry Friends This International Guide Dog Day

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Every year, the last Wednesday of April is commemorated as International Guide Dog Day by the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF). This special day pays tribute to those highly trained dogs that serve as the eyes of their visually impaired owners, and also aims to break through prevalent social biases about such impairments.


From birth through their first encounters with their owners and up until their retirement, training a single guide dog requires the dedicated efforts of not just one, but a large group of people – not to mention the dogs themselves. Socialization training, for example, is a must in many countries for guide dogs.1


In order to celebrate the efforts of guide dogs and the people who work with them, Samsung Newsroom visited the Samsung Guide Dog School, which has been training up guide dogs since 1993. Take a look at the photos below to learn more about the stories of these special companions.


* The following photos and videos have been captured using the Galaxy S21 Ultra



① Birth

Over 90 percent of guide dogs currently serving are retrievers, a breed that has been recognized for their disposition, affinity, and health. Amongst them, Labrador retrievers account for the largest number of guide dogs by merit of their adaptive, gentle and loyal natures.





▲ Three-week-old guide dog training candidates.



▲ At this young age, it’s especially important that the puppies eat and sleep well. They spend most of their time with their mother and are constantly growing.


We filmed three-week-old puppies and soon-to-be guide dogs with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The device’s camera vividly captures the soft fur of these adorable puppies – it is almost as if you can hear their calm breathing right from the photos. Of course, eating and sleeping are of utmost priority for these animals at this stage of their lives.



 Puppy Walking

Once they have grown somewhat, the next stage of their guide dog lives commences: puppy walking. At around seven weeks of age, the puppies are entrusted to volunteers and undergo various different socialization activities. The puppies’ walkers care for them for around a year and help with the different training procedures at home and at nearby parks, as well as at local restaurants and cafes.


“Puppies normally learn to interact with people at about three to 15 weeks of age,” explained Taejin Park, Director of the Samsung Guide Dog School. “The new experiences they gain during this period play an important role in determining their lifelong personalities.”




▲ Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance’s Samsung Guide Dog School offers basic training related to puppy walking, such as how to form a bond, how to get your pup to concentrate and sit down, and how to take a walk with a leash.


We were able to capture some puppy walkers and their companions, aged eight weeks old, on a visit to the School for a training session. The puppies captured below are just one week into their extensive training process.





▲ Activities like resting in one spot and even sleeping are all part of the guide dogs’ socialization training.


The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s Portrait Mode is the perfect way to capture these puppies enjoying life much as children do, as if they have no cares in the world. The AI-powered camera not only analyzes the direction and angle of the scene’s lighting, but also measures the depth of field, allowing you to capture precious photos that have a professional feel to them. What’s more, you can then edit the background and other effects in the Gallery to suit your tastes.




* A video taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s Single Take feature.


You can also take all kinds of different photos and videos at once with the Single Take feature.



③ Guide Dog Training

After their year-long ‘puppy walking’ phase, the guide dogs in training return to the School for the formal training process. This training lasts around six to eight months, and the puppies learn such basic skills as sitting, waiting and toilet training, as well as such key behavioral traits as concentrating, learning to avoid obstacles and walking to target destinations.





▲ “Whose smile is the biggest?” This school is always full of smiles!



* A Super Slow-mo video taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.


Once they have finished the entire training process, the puppies will undergo a test to ascertain whether or not they are fit to become guide dogs. But don’t be disheartened: puppies that fail the test then go on to become regular companions or work as ‘demonstrators’ within the guide school.



▲ This guide dog candidate is excelling at various tasks, including going upstairs, avoiding obstacles, and staying on the sidewalk.


“Truly, there’s no such thing as ‘success’ or ‘failure’ when it comes to undertaking guide dog training,” noted Park. “All the puppies ultimately live long, happy lives thanks to their kind natures and adaptive personalities.”



 First Encounter with a New Family

Becoming a new member of the family they are to serve is an important step in any guide dog’s life, which is why the dog-to-owner matching process is extensive and rigorous. Factors such as the owners’ personality, vocation, walking pace and health condition are all taken into account when matching guide dogs to potential owners.


We paid a visit to a family to learn more about the life of a guide dog. Suhkjong Yu and his wife, Myeongji Sun, are both visually impaired and currently live with two guide dogs named Haedal and Jigu, as well as their two lovely daughters.



▲ Guide dogs, like any other dogs, require constant care from their owners. Owners should feed their guide dog breakfast every morning, take them out so they can relieve themselves upon request, walk them, and check to make sure that they’re feeling well. It goes without saying that owners should spend a large portion of their day dedicated to their guide dog.


▲ Seated comfortably under the dining table, guide dogs Jigu and Haedal join their family for dinner time.


“It is the responsibility of the visually impaired to take utmost care of the guide dogs who support them so much,” said Yoo. “The chemistry between the owner and the guide dog is really important, as they are the ones guiding us to our target destinations in the safest way possible, avoiding every obstacle along the way.”




▲ Cute and playful at home, guide dog Haedal is a very reliable and helpful partner during Mr. Yoo’s commute to work.


▲ Haedal and Mr. Yoo go for walks together every day. “The average life span of guide dogs is about one year longer than other retrievers. That goes to show you that guide dogs live happy, fulfilling lives,” said Tae-jin Park, Director of Samsung Guide Dog School


Guide dogs that retire after seven to eight years of service become rehomed with volunteers and go on to happily enjoy the rest of their lives.



▲ A retired guide dog who was adopted by a volunteer goes for a walk.




1 Conditions may vary by country or region.

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