[Central Coast] Five new Guide Dogs were presented with their very first harness, at a special graduation ceremony at Kooindah Waters Golf Club on May 19.
The celebration marked the conclusion of intensive training for the life-changing Guide Dogs, that will soon be matched with a person who is blind or vision impaired. The five Guide Dogs graduating included four black dogs and one yellow dog. Each dog has spent five months undergoing intensive training at the Guide Dog Centre, learning the skills to guide a person with vision impairment safely.
“Once they are matched, we spend several weeks working closely with the person and their Guide Dog to ensure they form a strong bond of trust, and the handler has knowledge and skills to work with and care for the dog,” said Ms Belinda Carroll, team manager for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT’s Newcastle office. Those attending the special presentation in Wyong had the opportunity to watch the Guide Dogs demonstrate their skills, enjoy a Puppy Pre-School session, meet a new litter of Labrador puppies and hear from Guide Dog handlers about how their lives have changed for the better.
Before undergoing intensive training at the Guide Dogs Centre, each Guide Dog is cared for by volunteer Puppy Raisers from eight weeks of age until they are 14 months old, and taught basic obedience and showered with love and affection. “It takes more than $35,000 to breed, raise and train each Guide Dog, so the graduation was a celebration of the dedicated training over the past two years to get these life-changing dogs to the all-important working stage of their life,” Ms Carroll said. “With the demand for Guide Dogs’ services increased due to growing numbers of people having trouble getting around as a result of sight loss, we’re incredibly grateful for the support we receive from the community,” Ms Carroll said.
Source: Media release, May 21 Samantha McGill, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT