CAE Reading and Use of English Part 5
You are going to read a magazine article about dog-training process. For questions 31-36, choose the answer (A, B, C or D) which you think fits best according to the text.
A working life: the guide dog trainer
As mobility instructor for Guide Dogs for the Blind, Gareth Evans has the rewarding job of matching dogs to their owners.
I’m blindfolded and frightened. Cars are roaring past as I stumble along busy Leamington Spa pavements, terrified I’ll unwittingly stray into the path of a vehicle. But Spriggs, the black Labrador whose brown training harness I’m desperately clinging to, soon has me at ease, calmly steering me around hidden obstacles, pedestrians, workmen and parked cars with every wag of his tail. Spriggs is close to finishing his training with Guide Dogs for the Blind and will soon be partnered with a visually impaired person.
At some point Spriggs will have been tutored by Gareth Evans, a local man who has worked with the charity for close to sixteen years. ‘It has to be a partnership when you take on a guide dog,’ he explains. ‘We can only get the dogs to a certain level and then the owners have to take over and they will get out of that partnership what they put in.’ Evans grew up in nearby Warwick surrounded by puppies – his family were regular ‘puppy walkers’ for the charity, the name given to families that look after a puppy for its first 12-14 months before handing it back for training, as well as breeders. ‘Guide dogs have always been in my life and I’d always wanted to work for the charity.’
He achieved that ambition when he was nineteen, spending five years working in the kennels before a broken wrist led him to shadow the organisation’s rehab workers, who provide training and guidance to help people live independently. ‘What impressed me most was how you could give someone the smallest piece of advice, some of it not even related to dogs, that would make a huge difference to their lives, such as how to make the text on their television screen bigger,’ he remembers. ‘So I retrained as a rehab worker and did that for eight years.’ Four years ago he became a mobility instructor for the charity, which means that as well as finishing off the dogs’ tuition with advanced training, he helps match dogs to owners, provides support while they get to know each other and makes annual aftercare visits.
Evans thinks there are many myths about the role of guide dogs. ‘A lot of people think they take their owners for a walk, that the owner says, “Right, off to the fish and chips shop, please,” and the dog takes them there,’ he says. ‘The owners are the ones in control and who need to know where they are going. The dog is only helping them look out for roads and obstacles, it’s not actually taking them anywhere – although if it learns a route, it might pop into a shop if the owner visits frequently.’ He talks of the occasional embarrassment suffered by owners whose guide dogs betray their love of takeaways by padding into the kebab shop even if the owner wishes to walk past.
When I am blindfolded and partnered with Spriggs for my walk, I immediately realise how big a jump it is from trusting your own eyesight to trusting that a dog will guide you safely around town. For the first five minutes I am genuinely scared that my life is held in the paws of a canine I’ve never met but I slowly become attuned to Spriggs’s subtle movements when he pulls me to the left or right to avoid obstacles or as he prepares to stop at a kerb. I marvel as he obeys my command to turn right at one pavement edge. All the while Evans is telling me what to do, how to give the dog feedback, to pat him affectionately when he has done well, along with numerous other instructions.
By the time I take the blindfold off, I have genuinely bonded with Spriggs, to the extent that Evans jokes: ‘I’d better check your bag to see you haven’t stolen him,’ and I get an inkling of the incredible bond that dogs and owners must share. On the train back to London I spot one of Spriggs’s black hairs on my leg and it reminds me of my childhood pet Sid, a Jack Russell terrier I still miss to this day. It then strikes me why Evans has been with Guide Dogs for the Blind for so many years: when you are a key part in forging so many beautiful relationships, partnerships that lead to vastly improved lives, why would you want to work anywhere else?
31 Why does the writer start to feel more relaxed in the first paragraph?
He knows he will shortly regain his sight.
He has survived a difficult experience.
He begins to have faith in his guide.
He is approaching the end of the journey.
32 Gareth believes that a successful guide dog is ultimately the result of
the breeding and quality of the dog.
the level of training the dog is given.
the early stages of care when they are young.
the interaction between owner and dog.
33 When working in rehabilitation, Gareth was
encouraged by the degree of independence the blind people had.
surprised by the value of his own contributions.
confident that he could learn from the experience.
undeterred by his physical problems.
34 The writer mentions the ‘fish and chip shop’ to
illustrate the talents of a good guide dog.
correct a common illusion.
explain a difficult procedure.
emphasise the importance of training done by owners.
35 When taking part in the experiment, the writer believes that
being in control of the dog is a very powerful feeling.
knowing how to direct the dog takes time.
relying on the dog takes considerable courage.
reacting to the dog’s affection is important.
36 What is the writer’s reaction to the experience?
He would like to do the same work.
He can identify with the satisfaction Gareth gets from his job.
He values the experience of being dependent on a guide dog.
He wishes that he could have another dog of his own.