Last Saturday 2 September, Scarlett Wild had a very special role at Guide Dog Victoria’s 60th Anniversary Graduation Day.
This special ceremony recognises the freedom and independence a Guide Dog can bring to the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired, as well as the dedication and commitment from puppy raisers, Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV) staff and the generous donations from the public who make the whole process possible.
This year GDV celebrated a record 93 dogs who have been placed with clients over the past twelve months. This is our biggest graduating cohort ever! Just like graduates from universities, the dogs will graduate with different qualifications – the majority are of course Guide Dogs, but for those not suited for guiding we try and place in a ‘helping role’ as Pets-as-Therapy Dogs, and even Service Dogs for war veterans affected by PTSD, or working for Guide Dogs Victoria as education & Ambassador Dogs.
Scarlett got up on stage in front of 400 people, with her mum Sophie, and spoke for several minutes about her experience helping to puppy raise three dogs – Maxwell, Jed and Woodruff. She even got tips from MC Peter Hitchener on public speaking. It was the first time GDV had ever had such a young puppy raiser take to the stage and she captivated the audience with retelling what she had learnt along the way, and some funny stories! Raising is a very fulfilling thing for a family to do together, and helps encourage responsibility and a positive view of diversity and disability.
Guide Dogs Victoria receives less than 10% government funding, and couldn’t do the work it does without volunteers and donations. The demand for Guide Dogs is growing at a rate of 20 per cent per annum, which means we have a lot more pups being raised out in the community by volunteer Puppy Raisers. Right now, Guide Dogs Victoria is in great need for Temporary Carers – people or families who might not be able to commit to a pup for 12 months, or would rather not care for a very young pup but prefer an older pup. If you can step in and help look after a pup over the weekend or for several weeks over the school holidays, if their regular raiser is away, we would love to hear from you! You can go to www.guidedogsvictoria.com.au, or call 1800 804 805. You can also find out here how to become a Puppy Raiser, donate, or run a community fundraising event.