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04 February, 2015

Tulip blossoms

Tulip the puppy sitting on lawn

Tulip blossoms into lovely Guide Dog puppy

At just three months of age, a golden Labrador puppy named Tulip has begun her journey to become a Guide Dog, thanks to the generosity of visitors attending last year's Tulip Time festival in the Southern Highlands.

As the festival's 2014 charity partner, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT raised $33,000 from a range of activities throughout the three-week event - see table below for list of fundraising activities. The money raised will fund the training of puppy Tulip to become a life-changing Guide Dog for someone with vision loss.

"Guide Dogs is incredibly grateful to the Wingecarribee Council for the opportunity to be the 2014 Tulip Time Charity Partner," said Leila Davis, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's Fundraising Manager.

"With demand for Guide Dogs growing and our reliance on the public to fund their training, we were overwhelmed with the generosity of the local Southern Highlands community and festival visitors. As such we were thrilled to name a Guide Dog puppy 'Tulip' in honour of this support.

"We'd also like to extend a huge thank you to local celebrity, comedian Anthony Ackroyd for his support, enthusiasm and energy as the Ambassador for Guide Dogs and the Tulip Time Festival."

About puppy Tulip

Born in November 2014, puppy Tulip was placed with her volunteer Puppy Raisers Ursula and Kerry Hatton, who live in Narellan, when she was eight weeks old. She will stay with the Hatton's for 12 months until she returns to the Guide Dog Centre in Glossodia to be assessed for Guide Dog school. If she ticks all the health and temperament boxes, Tulip will undergo five months of intensive training with a Guide Dog Instructor, before being matched with someone who is blind or vision impaired. (See below 'backgrounder' for more details about the Puppy to Guide Dog journey)

Mrs Hatton said they loved having Tulip in the family, describing her as a 'delight, who is easy to teach, well-mannered and lovely to have around'.

As well as receiving lots of love and cuddles during her time with the Hattons, Tulip will be taught basic obedience, social skills and be introduced to all the sights, sounds and smells she's likely to encounter as a Guide Dog. Some of the many things she will learn are how to negotiate obstacles such as steps, stairs and uneven surfaces and understand basic commands like sit, stay and drop.

Every day 28 Australians are diagnosed with uncorrectable vision loss, including nine who become blind, and as these figures are expected to increase, so too will demand for Guide Dogs.

Tulip Time Fundraising Activities

  • Sydney Cycle Club's annual 'Ride for a reason' from Sydney to Bowral raised $14,200
  • Tyrrell's winemakers dinner at the Mittagong RSL raised $3,200
  • Guide Dogs merchandise stall in Corbett Gardens in Bowral, with a pen of puppies for visitors to cuddle
  • The world's biggest model Guide Dog 'Gulliver' was a float in the street parade, and sat for the rest of the festival in Corbett Gardens
  • The festival's first 'dogs day out' saw hundreds of pet dogs allowed into Corbett Gardens for the first time, with an owner-dog look-a-like competition and best dressed pet competition
  • Another $6000 was raised from community groups such as Bowral Country Women's Association, Senior Citizens, Bowral District Art Society, Rotary and the Council.

For more information about Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's services and how to support them, please visit www.guidedogs.com.au or call 9412 9300.