Brogan touches down
Guide Dog Brogan touches down from his 200th flight
Today at Sydney Airport, NSW businessman James Bennett, who is blind, and his Guide Dog Brogan will be touching down from their 200th domestic flight together, a significant milestone that celebrates the important role Guide Dogs play in helping people who are blind or have impaired vision go about their daily activities.
After going completely blind in both eyes in 2004, Mr Bennett needed to find a way to continue working and to maintain his active lifestyle. That's when he received his first Guide Dog, Putu, who retired after serving an impressive eight and a half years by his side.
Mr Bennett is currently working with his second Guide Dog, Brogan, who has been his eyes and travel partner for two-and-a-half years now.
As travel is integral to Mr Bennett's job as a Disability Services Auditor for various federal and state agencies, he believes that Brogan's 200th flight is a milestone that should be shared and celebrated.
"Without Brogan, I would not be able to work in my current occupation because it requires lots of travel," said Mr Bennett.
"This milestone demonstrates to the general public the great gift of independence that Guide Dogs give to their handlers through their loyalty and abilities."
Brogan's work as a Guide Dog continues well after each flight touches down.
"Brogan gets me to Reception Desks at Hotels and Motels, as well as to dining rooms, bedrooms, and toilets, which takes this type of burden away from the people I work with," Mr Bennett explains.
"I am hoping to raise awareness of the fact that people who are blind or have low vision want to live as normal a lifestyle as possible. That includes being able to work and travel just like everyone else."
On his 200th flight, Brogan will be assisting his handler as they travel home to Sydney from Tamworth on Mr Bennett's chosen airline, Qantas.
"Almost all of the flights that I take are with Qantas because of the way that they look after me and the way that they are respectful of my needs," Mr Bennett said of the airline.
While 200 flights seems like a big number, did you know that it costs more than $30,000 to breed, raise and train one Guide Dog? As Guide Dogs NSW/ACT provides all its services free of charge to clients, they are financially dependent on the community's support.
For more information about Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's services and how to support them, please visit www.guidedogs.com.au or call 02 9412 9300.
DID YOU KNOW?
Guide Dogs are legally allowed to accompany their handlers on all types of public transport, including trains, buses, taxis and aircraft.