Danny and his Guide Dog, Landy, formally graduated in September 2018, in a ceremony which was held in the Perth CBD. He graduated alongside 6 other Guide Dogs and their handlers.
Danny was matched with Guide Dog Landy earlier in the year and spent several weeks intensive training together to create a trusting and confident partnership. Following the initial intensive phase, the training continues throughout the working life of the dog and is an ongoing journey of learning for both dog and handler.
Danny suffered vision loss from detached retinas and severe glaucoma. When Landy joined Danny’s family, he brought freedom and independence back to his life. He says:
“Landy makes it possible for me to go anywhere and at anytime. He has had an incredible impact on my life and if it was not for the support of his sponsors, puppy raisers, boarders and trainers we would not be together today.”
“Landy is a mate, and an absolutely joy. When he is guiding me I can now concentrate on other things rather than looking down at the pavement and worry about obstacles” Mr Van Vliet said.
Golden labrador/retriever, Landy is a gentle soul and when out of harness, at home he is just like most other dogs. He is lively, happy and loves to play with a cuddyly toy or the family pet dog. But when he is in harness, it is all work. “Landy drops the toy, stands still, is serious and ready for work”
Danny is very appreciative of the support of the community and when people understand that if Landy has his harness on, he is at work and should not be distracted. He said, “I know he is a very handsome dog and it can be difficult to ignore him when we are at the shops or out walking, but please just ignore him and continue with your shopping or activity.”
It is important to never pat or distract a working Guide Dog. They are easily recognisable by their white harness and a Guide Dog in training will wear a brown harness or an orange coat. Danny says “If you ignore us it really does help Landy concentrate on the job at hand and makes a big difference to me.”
“Dogs and humans are more similar than you might think! The link between exercise and improved mental health for people exists for dogs as well. Exercise releases neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin into the brain, all which aid in pain relief, happiness and optimism for our dogs,” Laura V said.
With only 30% of owners reportedly walking their dog every day, Laura V says Australians could be ignoring a vital way to ensure their pups are feeling their healthiest and happiest. She is urging all owners to consider the positive impact that committing to walking 30 minutes a day for PAWGUST could have on their pup.
“Dogs crave consistency and purpose, so an initiative such as PAWGUST has a multitude of benefits. You’re making a commitment to regular exercise, which is healthy for dogs and owners, all while raising funds for Guide Dogs Australia,” said Laura V.
“There are certain activities dog owners should implement to maintain the health and happiness of their dog. These include dog walking, problem-solving activities, exploring new places and socialisation with other dogs,” said Laura V.
This year, for PAWGUST 2019, Guide Dogs Australia have released a Dog Happiness Quiz which lets owners measure the happiness of their dog.
The annual fundraising challenge encourages people to commit to walking their pooches 30 minutes a day for 30 days during August.
Getting behind a great cause like PAWGUST, Aussie dogs and their owners can improve their mental health while raising funds for an important cause.
At Guide Dogs WA, we are calling on all Western Australians to register and commit to walking their dogs daily this PAWGUST.