CEO Elizabeth Barnes with yellow labrador puppy

From our CEO’s Desk

17 July, 2020

CEO Elizabeth Barnes with Ambassador Dog AnnieThe last few months have been challenging for us all! Here at Guide Dogs WA, we have experienced a whirlwind of change since COVID-19 temporarily closed our doors in mid-March. As the world went into lockdown, we had to say goodbye (in the short term) to our amazing team of volunteers; dogs-in-training went to live with their handlers and puppy raising and training by Zoom video call became the norm.

On the funding front, there was more heartache. Suspension of community events and our iconic coin collection program led to unprecedented financial losses.

To ensure the survival of our Guide and Assistance Dog training program, we launched an Emergency Appeal: and the Western Australian community responded with an outpouring of generosity. The $330,000 raised through this Emergency Appeal made it possible to welcome four new puppies into the training program.

On behalf of Western Australians who are vision impaired or living with a disability, we extend our most grateful thanks to everyone who donated to this urgent appeal.

April also marked another historic occasion as landmarks across Perth, Mandurah and Bunbury took on the PAWfect shade of orange on the last Wednesday in April in celebration of International Guide Dog Day.

Traditionally, during this international celebration, our “orange army” take to the streets to remind the community that Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere and help raise much-needed funds for the training program. With the Western Australian community staying safely at home this year, the orange lights provided the PAWfect statement in recognition of this significant day for Guide Dogs globally.

Guide Dogs give hope and opportunity, freedom and independence and provide an extraordinary transformation in the lives of Western Australians living with blindness and low vision. The partners of these amazing dogs celebrate their loyalty and friendship each and every day.

Thank you so much for your continued support. I am feeling incredibly positive as we begin to come out the other side of COVID restrictions and Western Australia heads towards a new normal. Your support has never been more vital, nor more appreciated!

With sincere thanks and regards,

Elizabeth Barnes

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