Guide Dogs take over Martin Place | Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

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05 December, 2016

Guide Dogs take over Martin Place

Six blonde Labradors in harness lying down with their front paws stretched out in a row.

Public invited to special presentation day

As a special pre-Christmas treat, city shoppers and workers are invited to witness a special presentation of seven graduating Guide Dogs in Martin Place on Tuesday.

The spectacle is rarely held in a public venue and will be an opportunity to see the four-legged graduates receive their first harnesses, watch Guide Dog demonstrations and hear Guide Dog handlers talk about how their lives have been changed for the better. There will also be some very cute puppies enjoying themselves in a play pen.

The public will be joined by those who have been integral to the process of turning the playful puppies into responsible working Guide Dogs, including instructors and volunteer Puppy Raisers.

Profile of the face of a black Guide Dog in harness.

Before undergoing five months of intensive training at the Guide Dogs Centre, each dog lived with a Puppy Raising family, who cared for them from eight-weeks until about 14-months-old and taught them basic obedience and showered them with love and affection.

“It has taken more than $35,000 to breed, raise and train each Guide Dog so the graduation will be 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,” Guide Dogs NSW/ACT CEO, Dr Graeme White said.

Every day in Australia, 28 people are diagnosed with vision loss that cannot be corrected, including nine who will become blind.

“With the demand for Guide Dogs’ services increasing due to growing numbers of people having trouble getting around as a result of vision loss, we’re incredibly grateful for the support we receive from the community,” Dr White said.

“As we receive less than 2 per cent of our funding needs from the government, we rely on the public's generosity to fund our services, which are all provided at no cost to those who need them,” Dr White said.

The graduation ceremony at Martin Place on Tuesday, December 6 is free for the public to attend and starts at 12pm.

A yellow puppy lying down next to a Guide Dog harness.

WHAT: Guide Dogs NSW/ACT presentation of graduating Guide Dogs, including Guide Dog demonstrations, speeches by handlers, parade of graduates and puppy play pen.
WHERE: Martin Place
WHEN: 12pm-2pm on Tuesday, December 6 (main activities from 12.45pm)
COST: Free