Bentley resident Barry Murray is no stranger to the life-changing impact of a Guide Dog.
“Getting around is so much more difficult without a dog. The simplest things like walking in a straight line, or finding a door or a chair, are almost impossible alone. Most people don’t realise how stressful it actually is when you’re trying to walk somewhere and you can’t see.”
On Thursday 15 December, Barry and new Guide Dog Pluto celebrated a major milestone together, graduating in a Babbingur Ceremony hosted by Guide Dogs WA. Babbingur is a Nyoongar word that describes a ‘very loyal and devoted friendship.’
“My Guide Dogs have given me more confidence that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, and that permeates through every part of my life.”
Originally from Cairns, Barry was born blind. He sees little point in dwelling on the fact, and graduated from the University of Queensland with a degree in law and arts with honours.
Now an accomplished Barrister, he works on St George’s Terrace in Perth, and his colleagues have warmly welcomed Barry’s furry companions.
“My work embraced my last Guide Dog Ike and they’ve done the same with Pluto. Pluto and I have become team mates and partners!”
“After we went there just once, Pluto knew where to turn to get to the Supreme Court. He remembered, even when I didn’t. So I just went with him and he got me there.”
Pluto helps Barry not only in getting to work, but Barry is also looking to take him in to the court room—just as he did with Ike. “The dogs are great ice breakers when talking to witnesses, especially young ones.”
It takes at least two years and costs over $35,000 to train a Guide Dog, Guide Dogs WA is reliant on the support of the community to fund the Guide Dog program.
“I’m so grateful to the donors. Without them, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to work with a dog like Pluto. I would miss out on a lot. I owe my quality of life to them.”
Barry firmly believes that he and Pluto “were meant to be”.
“I feel a lot better about the future with Pluto. I feel I can achieve a lot more.”