When Lin Matthews retired from her High School Library Officer job, she turned to volunteering for a bit of added variety. Picking her cause was easy – she’d been purchasing Guide Dogs WA merchandise for years, and looking at her vast collection inspired her to offer a different kind of support.
“I came in to buy a Guide Dog Calendar and asked the shop assistant how I could help,” said Lin. “That’s how I joined the Mini Dog team!”
Lin has been a Mini Dog Collector and Placer since the beginning of 2016 – and has loved the new, extra involvement the volunteer position brings.
Mini Dog Collectors and Placers travel set routes, helping to collect funds from the 1,300+ Guide Dog-shaped collection containers around WA. The change from each Mini and Model Dog helps to fund the Guide Dog program, which provides Guide Dogs to people who are blind and vision impaired, as well as other services across the organisation.
“[Helping out] is just a great feeling,” said Lin, “It’s a really worthwhile cause and I love the Guide Dogs themselves.”
A trip through Lin’s home would reveal Guide Dog travel mugs, towels, tea towels and cups. She also purchased one of the first Guide Dog number plates in 2003, which is kept in mint condition. “The green is still bright and the plate looks like new!”
Lin’s Mini Dog experience is vastly different to Maxwell Penny’s, the 23-year old videographer who spoke about volunteering in early January. While Max juggles paid work with Mini Dog runs, Lin does ‘shifts’ at a more leisurely pace. However, they are the same in wanting to make a difference in the lives of people living with blindness and vision impairment – and united by the wonderful feeling of helping the cause.
Guide Dogs WA is recruiting volunteers like Lin and Max to continue collecting, placing and maintaining Mini and Model Dogs in WA – and we’d love to hear from you. You can help the Guide Dog program by calling Carol on 9311 8238 to volunteer as a Mini Dog Collector and Placer, or reading more about volunteering for the Mini Dog program.