Dubbo Photo News & Dubbo Weekender

Raising the $35,000 needed for each guide dog

Annette Ferguson sits with her soon-to-retired guide dog Delta, together with members of the Pink and White Committee for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Dubbo, Jackie Walker, Anne Perry and Sue Clark who are busy coordinating the 60th anniversary fundraising luncheon being held on July 1. Photo: Dubbo Photo News Annette Ferguson sits with her soon-to-retired guide dog Delta, together with members of the Pink and White Committee for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Dubbo, Jackie Walker, Anne Perry and Sue Clark who are busy coordinating the 60th anniversary fundraising luncheon being held on July 1. Photo: Dubbo Photo News

It costs over $35,000 to breed, raise and train one guide dog, which makes community fundraising efforts essential to support residents in need of these assistance dogs.

Celebrating 60 years of support, the Dubbo Pink and White Committee for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is inviting the public to join them for a fundraising lunch on Sunday, July 1, at 12 noon.

“Beau Robinson will be our guest speaker and he’ll be in conversation with Jen Cowley,” committee member Sue Clark told Dubbo Photo News.

Beau has returned to Dubbo after 10 years of professional rugby and is now the first grade coach of Dubbo Roos’ Rugby Club.

“We’ll also be serving ‘60s food and there’ll be an historical display,” said committee member Jackie Walker.

“We’ll be raffling ten bottles of wine including a $200 bottle. They’ll all be sealed inside bags for winners to choose, so it’s a lucky dip as well,” she said.

The idea to have a support group dedicated to the Guide Dogs in Dubbo and other communities came from Judy Taylor of Coonamble who, at the time, was on the Guide Dogs board and suggested local communities might give their support.

“It’s an idea that’s come out of rural Australia. Our committee’s been going since 1975. We have ongoing and generational members. There’s about three or four of us whose mothers have also been on the committee,” Mrs Walker said.

“The first fundraiser they did was a fashion parade at the RSL and we’ve still got a (donation collection) Guide Dog there,” she said.

“We try to raise funds for one dog a year. We used to be a committee of 22 but now we’re a small committee and we’d welcome new volunteers who have a passion for fundraising,” Mrs Walker said.

There are currently four guide dogs in Dubbo, and about 20 Guide Dog collection “dogs” around the city.

Proceeds from the luncheon will go to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and help locals like Annette Ferguson who is in the process of getting a new dog.

“I just received a quote for the new dog and there’s (several) parts to it. There’s the dog, (as well as) the training of me and the dog together... it’s almost $50,000!” Ms Ferguson said.

“You have to do an assessment process and the funny thing is you have to be able to get around without a guide dog. If you say to them, ‘I’m sitting at home, I need a guide dog, I can’t go out without a guide dog,’ they won’t give you one.

“You’ve actually got to prove that you have good enough navigation skills to get around, because you still have to navigate your way around. You have to know where you’re going. The dog is really helpful but they’re not a GPS. And they won’t do everything for you,” Ms Ferguson said.

“You still have to know how to cross a road, so you’ve got to show them you’re an active person who will use a guide dog.

“There’s a big matching process they go through. If you’re a big tall person who walks really quickly, you’ll get a different dog to someone who’s a little old lady who just needs to go to the shops.

“I’ve told them I need a dog that’s really social, that can handle loud music and that sort of thing, because some dogs are more sensitive than others,” she said.

A Guide Dog enables Ms Ferguson to live a full life.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to Ramiens Timber who are providing the beautiful venue,” Mrs Clark said.

For details about how to join the luncheon, see the information box with this story, or in the advertisement in this edition of Dubbo Photo News which is the media supporter for the event.

WHAT WHERE WHEN

  • 60 Years of Guide Dogs celebration lunch
  • Guest Speaker: Beau Robinson in conversation with Jen Cowley
  • Ramiens Timber Showroom, 1 Cobbora Road
  • Sunday, July 1, 2018. 12 noon to 4pm
  • Tickets $60, available from 123tix, Magnolia Nursery and The Swish Gallery