The Guide Dogs WA Mini Dog program is responsible for more than 1,300 Guide Dog-shaped collection containers found on retail counters across the state. Incredibly, volunteers are the ones who keep the program moving; they create schedules alongside representatives at Guide Dogs WA to place, collect and maintain the Mini and Model dogs each week.
Maxwell Penny, 23, is a Mini Dog volunteer who juggles weekly volunteering with freelance work.
“I remember seeing a few Guide Dogs around – a neighbour near my house had a Guide Dog when I was younger,” said Max.
“I decided to volunteer… I just thought it’d be nice!”
When he’s not volunteering, Max is working as a freelance camera operator.
“I’ve been a volunteer since June 2015, so just over six months now.”
A typical day in Max’s volunteer routine is a day-time ‘shift’ in Perth suburbs, where he meets with local shop owners to collect and replace full Mini and Model Dogs.
“I met a really nice shop owner previously – they were very happy with what I was doing. I think that they were surprised because of my age. They must’ve expected an older person,” said Max.
“That made me reflect – that what I was doing was unique for a young person.”
Max noted that he is continually surprised by people’s readiness to donate their spare change.
“The Model Dogs can get really heavy. People are surprisingly generous – the last one I picked up was the heaviest I’ve ever seen.”
“It does make me realise how generous people are.”
If you’d like to volunteer for the Mini Dog program in the New Year, we want to hear from you!
The change from each Mini and Model Dog helps to fund the Guide Dog program, providing Guide Dogs to people who are blind and vision impaired, as well as other services across the organisation.
You can help the Guide Dog program by calling our Mini Dog Coordinator on 9311 8238, or read more about volunteering for the Mini Dog program today.