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10 October, 2016

Tulip blossoms into a Guide Dog

Tulip in her Guide Dog harness

Southern Highlands communtiy thanked as Tulip graduates

Thanks to the generosity of the Southern Highlands community, a beautiful blonde Labrador named Tulip graduated as a Guide Dog in Sydney on Friday, 30 September.

Tulip’s breeding, raising and training costs were funded by visitors to the Tulip Time festival in 2014, and those who participated in various fundraising activities throughout the three-week event. 

Like all Guide Dogs, it cost more than $35,000 to breed, raise and train Tulip.

"Guide Dogs is incredibly grateful to the Wingecarribee Shire Council & Destination Southern Highlands for the opportunity to have been the 2014 Tulip Time Charity Partner," said Natalie Moses, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's Acting 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 community and festival visitors. Without their support, this beautiful Lab would not be graduating as a Guide Dog on Friday.”

The graduation was a special ceremony that marked the end of intensive Guide Dog training for Tulip and four other new recruits, who will all soon be matched with a person who is blind or vision impaired.

“The graduation will be a celebration of the all the hard work and training over the past two years to get these life-changing dogs to the all-important working stage of their life,” Guide Dogs Services Manager, Paul Adrian said.

During the ceremony, Tulip had her head held high as she showed off her new skills and Guide Dog harness in front of Wingecarribee Shire Council & Destination Southern Highlands representatives and her Puppy Raising Family.

Before commencing five months of intensive training at the Guide Dogs Centre, Tulip lived with the Hatton family in Narellan from eight-weeks until 14-months-old. They cared for her, taught her basic obedience and showered her with love and affection.

Tulip as a puppy

Every day 28 Australians are diagnosed with uncorrectable vision loss, including nine who become blind.

As Guide Dogs NSW/ACT receives less than two per cent of its funding needs from the government, the organisation relies on the generosity of the public to fund its services, which are all provided at no cost to those who need them.

Tulip Time 2014 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.