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Princess Märtha Louise opens new guide dog facility

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway has opened a new guide dog facility for the Norwegian Association of the Blind.

The Princess officially opened the new facility at Veiviseren Dog School by cutting the official ribbon outside the building.

She then went inside to receive a tour and play with the ten-week-old puppies being trained. She saw how the dogs could open the door of a washing machine and pick up objects from the ground.

Princess Märtha Louise then sat in a wheelchair to test the assistance of a guide dog named Zeke. He picked up two objects for the Princess to show her his ability.

She later watched other dogs in training go through obstacle courses; she also closed her eyes and was guided through the course by dog Xalu.

Her Highness said at the opening: “It is a great honour and pleasure for me to make this opening. I am so happy to be here and witness the joy, freedom and independence that the interaction with animals brings. Animals are wonderful.”

The opening ceremony also included speeches and performances by musicians and voice actor Cliff Isaksen, who is blind and uses the services of guide dogs. He performed two songs and shared his personal experiences.

He spoke of the benefits of guide dogs, saying: “What I noticed is the enormous feeling of mastery you get when you can be part of society. I can go to the nursery and pick up the children, go to the store and shop and walk through the main street in Tromsø without being afraid of tripping over flower pots or advertising signs.”

The new facility boasts 1,200 square metres for the animals to train and prepare to help the blind. It is one of the most modern facilities in the Nordics.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. She's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.