Celebrating the 2020 Guide Dog Graduation!
On Thursday 3 December 2020, five Guide Dogs and their handlers graduated at a Guide Dog Graduation Ceremony.
The graduation ceremony celebrated the unique and special partnerships of Annalise and Guide Dog Alfie, Michael and Guide Dog Cheezel, Jacqui and Guide Dog Della, Wayne and Guide Dog Peter, Serge and Guide Dog Winston and acknowledged the hard work and dedication that has gone into the training of these extraordinary dogs.
Graduating Guide Dogs Alfie, Cheezel, Della, Peter and Winston were joined at the ceremony by their handlers, Guide Dogs WA volunteers, donors, sponsors, Puppy Raisers and Boarders who have all contributed to the two year training journey of each Guide Dog.
It takes a village to raise and train a Guide Dog!
At Guide Dogs WA we say it takes a village to raise and train a Guide Dog and this was very evident when the graduating Guide Dogs were reunited with their Puppy Raisers, Boarders and Sponsors. Our clients get to meet all those involved in their dog’s training years, and swap stories about the life changing effect of these very special Guide Dogs.
[Video description: Montage of five graduating Guide Dogs with their Handlers, Puppy Raisers, Borders, Sponsors and Trainers, in the gardens and the theatre at Wesley College. Speeches by Anna, Guide Dog Services Manager and Wayne, Handler and graduate.]
“Alfie has changed my world!”
Annalise was matched to Guide Dog Alfie last year. After losing her sight relatively suddenly and unexpectedly, Annalise found herself unable to work, and lacking the independence and the freedom she had always enjoyed. The loss of her sight, career, and independence was devastating. “I was in a rut when I was encouraged to apply for a Guide Dog.”
Within months Annalise was introduced to Alfie and instantly fell for the yellow Labrador. “We hit it off immediately. We are much alike. Alfie is clever, smart, outgoing, adventurous and has a cheeky side too. Alfie is the perfect match for me – I can’t fault him” Annalise said.
With Guide Dog Alfie by her side Annalise has her independence back.
Annalise and Guide Dog Alfie are very active in the community, and Alfie is always ready for a new adventure.
The bond between Annalise and Alfie is obvious. In harness, Alfie is ready and waiting for the next command and to guide Annalise to her destination.
“He is a smart dog who loves to be busy and on the go. He picks up new routes and destinations quickly and easily. At the end of the day, Alfie has rewarded me all day, so I reward him. It is time for his daily brush and he plays with his toys, before getting onto his bed, ready to recharge for the new day ahead” Annalise said.
It takes a about two years and costs over $50,000 to train a Guide Dog like Alfie and Guide Dogs WA is reliant on the support of the community to fund the Guide Dog training program. You can help support the training program and make a donation here.
Every dog trained at Guide Dogs WA will change a Western Australian’s life and these five dogs have all bought so much joy, freedom and companionship to their handler’s lives.