Every few months, the postman delivers us a letter and photo from Georgie the aspiring seeing eye dog. We contribute to her training via a monthly donation to Seeing Eye Dogs Australia and, in return, Georgie gives us a colourful progress report.
Georgie has learnt most of her commands, such as a closed door, a kerb and road crossing all mean "sit". The important thing is for her to keep doing the work and to make sure she always recognises these situations so the commands become automatic.
Soon she will be assessed to see whether she makes the cut for formal training. In preparation, Georgie has visited the training camp a couple of times where she will move if she progresses to the next stage. On her first visit, the trainers put up a special sign to say she's a bit shy and nervous so to give her big pats and cuddes if she's brave... and to give her space if she needs it.
Outside of work, Georgie likes hanging with Delila the chicken in the garden at home. Sometimes she gets busted trying to nick one of Delila's eggs but always puts the egg down carefully without breaking it whenever she is told to "drop it".
Over the years we've sponsored quite a few seeing eye dogs. The first one passed all its training and was paired with a man in Perth who is visually impaired. As the dogs have to be 100 per cent competent (no room for error in this line of work) the standards are incredibly high and a few of our sponsored dogs haven't made the grade and would have become ncredibly obedient pets to some lucky family.
If you're interested in sponsoring or caring for a puppy like Georgie, you can find out more details here: seda.visionaustralia.org