Malaysia’s first recognized guide dog has died at the age of eight after battling blood infection.

LaShawn was Malaysia’s first every guide dog for the blind, which was recorded in the Malaysia Book of Records. After flying in from China in 2014, he had since then served his human Steven Chan Kum Fai.

“I am so heartbroken to inform that LaShawn, our only guide dog, passed away this morning,” shared Stevens through the Facebook page for non-profit advocacy group Dogs for Sight. “We promise to do better for him in our fight for guide dogs in Malaysia.”

LaShawn showed symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea and was admitted to an animal clinic last April 29 to be treated for leptospirosis.

Sadly, Stevens was not able to go and be with LaShawn during his final moments as he could not travel due to the movement control order (MCO) in Malaysia.

Stevens is the founder of social enterprise Dialogue in the Dark Malaysia and launched a petition for guide dogs to be recognized under the Personas with Disabilities Act 2008. Through this, the amendment would allow guide dogs to finally have access to public areas and transportation with their humans.

The petition garnered more than 85,000 signatures and was submitted to then-deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Stevens shared his difficulties when commuting with LaShawn before, where they walked through a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur for 10 minutes before being chased out by security.

Stevens said LaShawn provided him with a “second pair of eyes” after losing his vision to glaucoma back in 2002. His furry friend’s assistance has helped him live more independently and he added that he hoped the Malaysian government can give guide dogs the legal recognition it deserves.

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