Guide Dogs Centre
It's no walk in the park teaching puppies to become Guide Dogs. It requires boundless energy, care and experience - not to mention a lot of space.
That's where the Guide Dogs Centre comes in. The centre is located at Glossodia, near Windsor in Sydney's west. Its design draws on international expertise and the considerable experience of our Guide Dogs team.
The result is a world-class facility, which includes 210,000 building bricks, 2,915 square metres of roofing, 6,000 square metres of reinforcing steel mesh, 90 magnetic doors, 322 gates and doors, 6 ponds and dams, 2 pumping stations and over 40 kilometres of PVC reticulation pipe to water the garden.
So what was created from this impressive list of building materials?
The kennel blocks
Our three kennel blocks are filled with the latest creature comforts. Every dog has its own private kennel, with a total of 90 kennels available at the site.
Each kennel contains a special drinking tray, which supplies the dogs with drinking water whenever they become thirsty.
The floors of each kennel block are coated with a non-porous epoxy resin. Combined with the reverse cycle air-conditioning system, this ensures that unpleasant odours don't hang around for very long. The floors are also gently sloped in several directions, so any toilet mishaps flow straight into the drainage system, which makes cleaning a lot easier.
During the winter months, the dogs are kept warm by an in-floor electrical heating system.
The services building
The food-preparation area in each kennel block is fully equipped to feed 30 hungry dogs. It comes complete with a deep freezer, refrigerator, microwave oven, stainless-steel food bins, work tops and wash-up areas.
The shower and grooming areas are always bustling with activity. With 30 dogs to be groomed every morning in each kennel block, our kennel attendants certainly have their hands full!
The blocks also include examination rooms, where new puppies have their initial veterinary examinations.
The services building houses our comprehensive veterinary facilities. These include an operating theatre and a state-of-the-art digital x-ray machine.
It also contains a laundry for washing the many towels and blankets used every day at the Guide Dogs Centre.
The administration building
Looking after and training so many dogs takes a lot of planning and time. The administration building provides the office space needed by the Centre staff to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.
The centre boasts an award-winning garden. It was carefully designed to provide pleasant surroundings and much needed shade for the dogs. The garden contains more than 23,000 native plants and trees.
The training track
The dogs' training track winds its way through the grounds of the Guide Dogs Centre, stretching for a total of1.4 kilometres.
While most Guide Dog training occurs in real-life situations, our training track is the first step for new trainees. It's also ideal to reinforce the dogs' training in specific areas or to improve their concentration if necessary.
The track is designed to simulate scenarios that the trainees might later encounter as Guide Dogs. It incorporates:
- Seven different ground surfaces: concrete, mulch, gravel, sandstone, bitumen, decomposed granite and washed aggregate.
- Bridges, traffic barriers, manholes, textured grids and temporary construction paths - so the dogs learn to guide people safely around obstacles of different shapes and sizes.
- Landmarks such as telephone kiosks, bus stops, traffic lights and crossings.
The centre includes many outdoor fenced areas where the dogs can run off leash, supervised by our kennel attendants. All areas are equipped with drinking water, and most have shade cloths to protect the dogs in the summer sun.
There are 12 external runs outside each kennel block, where the dogs spend most of the day when they're not working.
When the dogs feel especially energetic, they can visit a range of large grassed areas for free running and exercise. There are also seven socialising areas, where the recruits can meet and play with other trainee Guide Dogs.