Fundraising appeal to assist people who are blind or have low vision Forster, Tuncurry by NOTA - April 14, 2015 At any one time over 2,000 Australians are estimated to require support from a Seeing Eye Dog. Lyndsay Heaton To help reduce this figure, the Petbarn Foundation and Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (SEDA) are urging the Myall Coast community to get behind a fundraising appeal to assist Australians who are blind or have low vision. The SEDA Appeal, which launched across Petbarn stores nationally on Monday aims to raise $210,000 to cover the costs of training six Seeing Eye Dogs. Myall Coast locals can get involved by making a donation in-store at Petbarn Forster or by going online at www.petbarn.com.au/seeingeyedogs. It takes close to two years and costs $35,000 to train one Seeing Eye Dog. This thorough training process includes 12 months caring and socialisation for the puppy as it grows into a dog, then the real work begins with up to 6 months of intensive advanced training with a specialised Instructor, 2-3 weeks of residential training, 1-2 weeks training in the clients’ home area and follow up and aftercare for the life of dog while it lives with its owner. Not all dogs trained in the program will graduate to become an official SEDA dog. Leigh Garwood, General Manager from Seeing Eye Dogs Australia said, “It takes a lot of time, love, patience and money to raise these special working dogs that will one day become the gift of independence for people who are blind or have low vision.” “Last year’s successful fundraising campaign through the Petbarn Foundation has enabled us to train six dogs who are all doing well. We’re once again calling on the generosity of Myall Coast locals to support this year’s appeal,” added Leigh.