The young Labrador has learnt the route to the bank, bus, hairdressers, and post office in a very short period of time.
“He is already an honorary member of the CWA and is found most Thursdays and Saturdays curled up under the desk in the craft shop,” Elaine said of the dog she affectionately refers to as Mr Darcy.
Elaine received Darcy in March this year thanks to the support of NSW Taxi Council drivers who have donated to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT following their training days, and collectively raising the $35,000 it costs to breed, raise and train one Guide Dog. Darcy is Elaine’s second Guide Dog. Her first dog, Evelyn, was retired due to ill health.
“When Darcy is in harness, he is constantly watching the way ahead and making allowance for any obstacles such as tree branches at head height. He helps me walk up and down steps, find doorways, and he refuses to cross a road or driveway if there is any danger from traffic, even if I have told him to go,” said Elaine.
Every day 28 Australians are diagnosed with uncorrectable vision loss, including nine who become blind. Guide Dogs NSW/ACT offers its services to clients for free and relies on community support to continue to assist people like Elaine live safely and independently.