THE GUIDE DOG WHISPERER
IT’S not always smooth sailing for guide dogs in training, but one couple from Rooty Hill have become guide dog “whisperers” for troubled pups.
Christine and George Faulder are given dogs to train who have had some difficulty with other volunteers, and have seen some dramatic success stories.
“We tend to get troubled dogs at about five or six months old when people have some problems and have had to hand them back,” Mrs Faulder said.
“We’re the troubleshooters because it’s only me and my husband in the house so it’s pretty quiet and we’ve got time and the quietness to try to get them out of whatever problems they’ve got.”
The first dog they had didn’t like to be touched, but the Faulders taught him to become used to being handled. The second one sometimes liked to nip at people but Mrs Faulder soon trained that right out of her.
“We calmed her down and now she’s beautiful with my grandkids, who pat her and cuddle her and she doesn’t react at all,” she said.
The couple first volunteered to train guide dogs because they had a friend who was legally blind and they saw first-hand the good work they could do.
“They get you up and about and keep you moving. Our two grandkids used to be frightened of dogs, and when they first turned up they would go straight up on the lounge and wouldn’t move, but now they are playing with them and giving commands, so it’s great for the kids, too.”
Guide Dogs NSW provides plenty of support and sends a trainer around every two weeks to see how the dogs are going.
They are looking for more people to volunteer to train the dogs in the Mt Druitt and St Marys area.
Guide dog troubleshooter Christine Faulder with Xalia and Narmee.