Over $1 Million Raised For Seeing Eye Dogs

People of all ages benefit from seeing eye dogs (image supplied by Vision Australia).

ASSISTANCE dogs are some of the most valued working animals in the country.

While there are working dogs on the land and in services such as customs and the police force, it is assistance dogs that change individuals’ lives.

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Port Stephens Petbarn has been a part of a national fundraising campaign to train 23 assistance dog puppies for Australians with low vision.

The campaign has now raised more than $1 million thanks to customers.

The Petbarn Foundation has raised a record breaking $1.169 million through its annual Seeing Eye Dogs Appeal.

This exceptional outcome was made possible through Petbarn’s patrons, supporters, and of course those who raised awareness for the cause.

Throughout the month of July, Aussies generously donated at Petbarn and City Farmers stores nationally and online to help cover the costs of breeding, training, and caring for 23 seeing eye dog puppies.

This year is the ninth ‘Seeing Eye Dogs Appeal’, and the fundraising target was $1 million, with generous customers seeing that target surpassed.

Vision Australia says it costs $50,000 and two years to train just one puppy and the current wait time for Seeing Eye Dog is about six months.

Vision Australia estimates there are 453,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision, with this figure expected to increase to 560,000 by 2030, with more Seeing Eye Dogs urgently needed.

Petbarn Foundation Manager Janelle Bloxsom said, “We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone in the Petbarn community who donated, year on year we are blown away by your generosity and passion for this important campaign.

“Thanks to your support, we will be able to see 23 Seeing Eye Dogs puppies trained and change the lives of Australians who are blind or have low vision,” she said.

“This massive effort provides funds to train more dogs for more people who are waiting for a Seeing Eye Dog. That is something all involved should be very proud of.”

The annual Petbarn Foundation appeal began in 2014 and has funded 125 Seeing Eye Dogs during the past nine years.

Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs General Manager Graeme Craig said, “We are absolutely thrilled with the funds raised in this year’s appeal and are grateful to Petbarn and its community for supporting us.

“The work of The Petbarn Foundation is vital to the work that we do and their extraordinary effort this year will help change the lives of clients who are blind or have low vision,” he said.

“Seeing Eye Dogs require specific training and a lot of expertise to be matched to the right person, and once matched, they increase a client’s independence, provide constant companionship, help overcome social isolation and contribute to an all-round better quality of life for clients.”


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