Monday, March 4

Desi, the guide dog who earned the right to appear on a border at the University of Castilla-La Mancha

The border of the last promotion of the degree in History of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) has been a surprise since along with the photographs of the students also appears that of the guide dog Desi, who has accompanied her owner , Abel Beldad Serrano, in a whole adventure of improvement in his university journey since he lost his sight due to a degenerative disease.

Abel Beldad Serrano is one of the 25 members of the last graduating class in History at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM). Like the rest of his classmates, he began university studies at the Faculty of Letters of Ciudad Real in 2018, and now, four years later, he appears on the commemorative border that certifies the latest batch of new historians.

Abel has been accompanied by a Labrador retriever called ‘Desi’ for six years. It was then that he lost his sight as a result of an irreversible degenerative neuropathy. He was 56 years old. “Suddenly I began to see as if it were foggy, and then I didn’t see any more,” explains Abel, who at that time ran the Los Arcos bar, a popular establishment on Calle La Mata, in Ciudad Real. “I had to leave the bar because it was impossible to continue working like this, although I tried to keep it until the end,” he says.

So, he decided to study for a degree in History. Why History? “Because I had always liked it a lot and now I had time.” Simple. Simple? Until then, Abel Beldad Serrano had graduated from the adult education center and did not know how to read Braille. Even so, he prepared the university entrance exams for those over 45 years of age and passed. The rest is history.

Although he still has a few subjects and the final degree project to obtain his degree, Abel Beldad Serrano did not want to miss the opportunity to share the border with the rest of the promotion, with the teaching team and with his dog. “Desi has come to all the classes with me, she is one of the faculty, and she always behaves wonderfully,” she says.

In this adventure of self-improvement, Abel sincerely appreciates the help of his colleagues, the teaching staff, and the Support Service for Students with Disabilities (SAED) of the University of Castilla-La Mancha. “The people from SAED accompany you from the moment you start your studies at the University, they help you with everything, they inform you of the procedures or the schedules and they even accompany you to the places until you become familiar with them”, affirms Abel, who also insists in the good mood of teachers and students. And he encourages people like him who encounter some difficulty not to discard their university dream.