Under different circumstances, Jenny would be treated as one of China`s "talents". One of only 34 specialists in her field, she would be widely respected and given carte blanche in her work.
Jenny is a guide dog for a blind Beijing woman named Chen Yan. But, too many people and businesses won`t let Jenny do her job.
"I have never succeeded in taking Jenny into the subway station near my home, they don`t know how to deal with a guide dog in the subway." Chen said.
"More people know about guide dogs,” said Wang Lin, a guide dog trainer, "However, some places are still not accessible to the dogs.”
New in China
Guide dogs assist visually impaired and blind people by avoiding obstacles, stopping at curbs and steps, and negotiating traffic.
China`s Protection Law for Disabled Persons, Item 58, says guide dogs can work in public places as long as they are abide by local or relevant regulations. It`s that "abide by" part that allows for a local option.
However, some cities and provinces, including Shanghai, Shenzhen and Zhejiang province, require that assistance dogs be allowed into any workplace, museum, cinema, hospital or other public facility.
"Guide dogs are new things in China, but using this kind of assistance dog is the right of the disabled," said Zhang Dongwang, deputy director of the rights protection office in the China Disabled Persons` Federation.
Partners from the start
In a country with about 13 million blind citizens, Jenny, a black Labrador retriever, is only the 18th guide dog.
Chen took Jenny home in April from the China Guide Dog Center in Dalian.
Chen and Jenny have spent one month training together to see whether they are fit for each other.
During training, Jenny worked outside the kennel twice a day, walking with the trainer 40-60 minutes each time. She learned to respond to commands in Chinese and English, and to not respond if a stranger calls her name.
Counting on it
Jenny is more than a working partner for Chen now, after only a few months.
"She is my friend as well as my eyes. I experience the sense of independence and privacy other aid people never gave me."
Chen once heard a story about the night sky: A dream will come true if a person keeps counting the stars until reaching 10,000. "I can`t see the stars in the night sky but I can fold paper stars with colorful paper strips.
"I am counting on it, and my next dream is one day my Jenny can take me freely walking in the city."