Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

TWO men cel­e­brated a ma­jor mile­stone, grad­u­at­ing with their com­pan­ions in a cer­e­mony hosted by Guide Dogs WA.

The Bab­bin­gur Cer­e­mony was held at the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s base in Vic­to­ria Park on June 22 and fea­tured Eric Seery and Roger Jones.

Guide Dogs WA sup­port­ers, vol­un­teers, donors, spon­sors, puppy rais­ers and staff at­tended the cer­e­mony to cel­e­brate the union of the two life-chang­ing guide dog part­ner­ships.

Guide Dogs WA chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer De­bra Barnes said the or­gan­i­sa­tion hosted sev­eral guide dog grad­u­a­tions each year be­cause they were a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to share sto­ries of each jour­ney from puppy to work­ing dog.

Mr Seery was matched with his guide dog Sun­dae in Novem­ber.

“From the start, I had a strong, pos­i­tive feel­ing about Sun­dae,” he said.

Mr Seery has been blind since he was a child, di­ag­nosed with Star­gardt dis­ease at just eight years old.

“My vi­sion loss was sud­den and un­ex­pected; one day in Year 3 I was able to read the black­board from the back of the class and the next day I couldn’t,” he said.

Mr Jones said he had found a new lease on life since be­ing matched with Chelsea in 2016.

“I’m get­ting out of the house a lot more; I pick up the har­ness and Chelsea gets ex­cited to go for a walk,” he said.

The cer­e­mony is re­ferred to as a Bab­bin­gur Cer­e­mony, a Ny­oon­gar word that de­scribes loyal and de­voted friend­ship.

Roger Jones with his guide dog Chelsea.

Eric Seery with his guide dog Sun­dae.

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