This week is International Assistance Dog Week (August 4-11) so there’s no better time to learn more about the important work of assistance dogs, including Guide Dogs,  and the difference they are making to people’s lives.

In this coming weekend’s episode of Pooches at Play, I visit the Victorian headquarters for Guide Dogs Australia and learn more about how Guide Dogs and white cans literally change lives.

We often don’t think about the isolation or frustration that people with blindness or low vision can feel in their daily lives. That’s where a Guide Dog and white cane can help to provide independence and empower them with greater confidence and self-esteem, as they no longer need to rely on the help of others to complete day-to-day tasks.

Not only are Guide Dogs a mobility aid but they are also a companion, which as any dog owner could attest, provide huge levels of fulfilment and are an important emotional support to maintain a mental health.

In my interview with Justin from Guide Dogs Victoria, I find out about their range of services that enable Australians who are blind or have low vision to move around their communities safely and independently, by providing orientation and mobility services, including Guide Dogs.

I also met two beautiful Guide Dogs in training, Labradors Heath and Myka, who were bred on site at the Guide Dogs Campus and are currently learning the key skills in order to safely Guide their handler through public places.

Raising a Guide Dog doesn’t come cheap though. In fact, it costs $50,000 to breed, raise and train a Guide Dog, so the support of the public and companies like PETstock, through their charity foundation PETstock Assist, is vital to help Guide Dogs to continue their valuable work.

If you’d like to find out more about PETstock Assist and the range of pets and people in the community they help, you can visit their website.

Of course, if you would like to make a donation direct to Guide Dogs Australia, visit their website, or you can make a donation over the phone on 1800 804 805.

I hope you are enjoying our new pet-friendly travel series and watch this weekend’s episode where we head to Ballarat to check out all the great things you can do with your pooch in the area.

Tune in this Saturday at 2pm on Channel 10 (warning it can start early so turn on the TV from 1:45pm to play it safe!) and Sunday at 4pm on 10 BOLD.   Or live stream us on 10 Play.

Lara & Darcy x


About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog training, minding and walking business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.