Anthony Mahr wants people to understand how important his guide dog Shadow is to him.
"Shadow is my eyes," he said.
Anthony is blind and relies on Shadow, who wears a harness, to guide him when he's out and about.
He helps Anthony get around obstacles, lines him up to curbs and finds different locations such as shopping centres.
Unfortunately people have been patting Shadow, giving him food and getting their dogs to interact with him.
Anthony said this is dangerous, and potentially life threatening, as it distracts Shadow from carrying out his important duties.
"It could cause me to step out in front of a car coming out of a driveway, come off a gutter.. a whole heap of different things could happen," he said.
Anthony, from Wauchope, on NSW's Mid North Coast, is urging people not to pat or feed Shadow.
"If they want to know anything about him they can ask me questions," he said.
If people continue to pat Shadow, Anthony said he's at risk of seeking attention from them, instead of doing his job.
"I'd consider them (guide dogs) to be like an airport dog or police dog ," he said.
"If you know the rules with them, the same rules apply."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Shadow has been Anthony's guide dog for four years.
"There's 12 months of puppy raising and then six months of their guide dog training program... before they come to us," he said.
The dogs also have to match to their owner.
"It took a year for us to bond and work well together," he said.
"Something I don't think people realise is how hard it is to get a good match, and (to form) the relationship between us."
Anthony said Shadow is a great guide dog, as he likes to walk long distances and can match his pace.
For more information about guide dogs, please visit https://guidedogs.com.au/
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