Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Generous God-like Gorgeousness that are Guide Dogs

Sponsored by Nuffnang

You regulars (makes you sound like bran cereal, doesn’t it?) know that I love dogs in all shapes, sizes, colours, breeds, mixers and moods.

Love Chunks and Sapphire continue to sigh as I rush over to someone and ask ‘Can I please pat your beautiful doggie thanks’ before they’ve even registered that I’m kneeling before them, stroking their pet’s ears.

Right. The context is set and my own dog – the marvellous Milly – is at my feet, snoozing in her beanbag as I’m writing this, stirring only occasionally to release a yawn or tiny yelp as she finally catches the motley cat who teases her behind the fence in her dreams and I’m pretty stoked to be able to tell you about the Six Feet One Journey campaign that celebrates the Guide Dogs movement with the support of FRONTLINE PLUS®.

Brett would have to have one of the cutest job titles ever: Puppy Raising Officer! This clip shows how pups from around eight weeks old are hosted by Puppy Raisers and their families for twelve months to learn basic social skills and obedience (ah if only we could do that for litterers, bogans and Mr Divvy Van). Then, when they’re around fourteen months old, they’re assessed at the Guide Dogs Centre to see if they’re suitable for guiding work. If so, they undergo an intensive, five month training course before being matched to a potential handler.

Allan is vision impaired and pretty happy with Archie. Yes, my cynical, raisin-dry heart was won over when he said, “Archie’s my dog, my eyes, my mate.”

Most Guide Dogs work for around eight or ten years and know that when their harness is on, it’s time to focus on work with their handler. But when the harness is off, it’s time to relax (no, that doesn’t mean you can lick that) and play with the whole household – their just reward.

It might be dogs who undergo the training but there’s certainly a lot we can learn from them.


Elisabeth said...

It is extraordinary how well those dogs can learn to become eyes for people.

I thought then with my broken leg, how easy it is to become isolated when you have a disability. It's so much easier to stay at home.

It must be even harder for the vision impaired.

Go guide dogs.

drb said...

Please sponsor a guide dog, only cost $20 a month but makes a huge difference to someone!

I witnessed for months, a visually impaired guy struggling to catch a train every morning into the city as I headed out. One day, he finally looked composed and assured - yes, he was with a guide dog.

I cried at one Melb Uni graduation ceremony as a guide dog accompanied a visually impaired Master's student up the stage to receive her degree in Phyiotherapy. The dog even worked out the routine and when to pause for a bow. They of course received the loudest applause.

So, please sponsor a guide dog today:

In case you are wondering, I have sponsored 4 guide dogs: Winter, Olive, Petra and Bronte.

Anji said...

Thank you for sharing those videos. My dad stayed indoors when he became too blind to see, he was frightened of falling. I don't know why he wasn't offered a dog - he used to train working sheepdogs when he was young. I suppose there wern't enough to go round.

drb said...

there is not enough guide dogs, long waiting list... have to wait up to at least 2 years

nuttynoton said...

I ran a marathon many years ago for guide dogs for the blind a great charity!

Deep Kick Girl said...

I have so much respect for guide dogs, their owners and trainers. Our friends are hosting a guide dog to be puppy and he's the most gorgeous little fellow. It's one of the charities I try to support whenever I can - the kids love putting coins into the big plastic Labrador's head outside Coles when I finish the shopping.

Kath Lockett said...

Elisabeth whenever I see a guide dog 'at work' I have to use every fibre in my being to stop myself from going over to pat them and praise them.

drb, you've made me cry just a little bit.....

Oh Anji, that's incredibly sad for your father. I wonder if even just having a dog as his own pet might have helped?

Nuttynoton - you're a champ. drb sponsors four; you've run a marathon and all *I* do is buy their calendar and diary each year. Note to self - do more.

Yes, Deep Kick Girl - I forgot about the big plastic guide dog - we do that too. I have a friend who hosts the puppies but admitted that it's very heart breaking to hand them over ready for training school.

R.H. said...

There was a big plastic figure on the veranda of a hocus pocus shop in Nelson Parade called The Wizard. If you shoved a dollar in its head it's belly gave out a paper slip with your future on it. I couldn't stop my dopey consort of the time from giving it a go, meanwhile I was thinking of a way to come back and knock it off but there was a metal rail around it.
I'd take one of those pups for a year but wouldn't be able to give it back. It's a strange thing that's there's lots of different looking people and some are ugly but there's no ugly dogs.

R.H. said...

I meant Nelson Place.

Mind you a mistake is no wonder, I'm on a comment marathon and very tired.

River said...

There's been a lot of puppy training around Norwood lately. They've been crossing roads and even going into the supermarkets.
I want to pat them all, but can't because they're working and learning.

Miles McClagan said...

I've become an unbashed fan of stories in the paper when Cats and Dogs are friends...

I don't know where it's came from. It's a strange affectation...

Lynda said...

Cute post katherine, we are just in the process of completing the paper work to become puppy educators. Sure, we love dogs but we are viewing it as a fun way to show our children that we are able to contribute to the wider community. RSB assured me that part of the process was for us to be at the graduation and hand over of our puppy (assuming it is suitable) so then my children can see how they can help those in need. RSB are desperate for puppy if anyone else is keen check it out!!

Helen said...

a friend of mine is a puppy walker, and it's lways the high point of my week when she arrives with puppies in tow on a friday. They're abolutely gorgeous!

My uncle is blind, and has been totally independent since he got his first guide dog. He recently got a new one while I wasa overseas visiting and I got to see them do their last 'exam' together (basically walking around town and running errands while we observed). It was very special.

And for a record, they're usually complete characters - dogs will be dogs, even when working! I feel sorry for the waiter who had to tell my uncle that his dog had got into the cheese tray and eaten rather a lot of expensive cheese.

And that is a long comment! I will stop now.

Anji said...

Kath, my parents always had a dog. Sheep dogs from the sheep dog rescue charity.

Helen Balcony said...

Yes, it's a terrible temptation to pat them, isn't it. I love seeing a guide dog in the CBD, a bit of furry natural dogginess to break up the suits and seriousness.