Guide dog cen­tre lead­ing the way

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Han­nah Nor­ton

More than 110 pup­pies a year will be born in the Royal New Zealand Foun­da­tion of the Blind’s new guide dog cen­tre in Ma­nurewa.

Five lit­ters with a to­tal of 42 pup­pies have been born there since Oc­to­ber.

The cen­tre was of­fi­cially opened re­cently by Manukau city coun­cil­lor Alf Fili­paina.

All guide dog pup­pies will now be bred at the new cen­tre, says breed­ing ser­vices man­ager Melinda Daw­son.

That’s 50 more pup­pies a year than in the old build­ing which will be used as a ve­teri­nary care and spe­cial needs unit.

The cen­tre’s world­class de­sign also means ca­pac­ity can be eas­ily in­creased, Ms Daw­son says.

“It’s right up there with in­ter­na­tional fa­cil­i­ties.”

The cen­tre cost nearly $2 mil­lion to build and was funded en­tirely by do­na­tions from the ASB Com­mu­nity Trust, the Lil­lian Valder Trust and an anony­mous donor fam­ily.

Its fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a ma­ter­nity wing, stud area, puppy ken­nel ar­eas and a vet room. Pup­pies have more room to run around with in­door and out­door play ar­eas com­plete with plas­tic tun­nels, toys and steps.

The cen­tre will pro­vide more guide dogs to the vis­ually im­paired, which Ms Daw­son says “makes a huge dif­fer­ence to their lives”.

“They give in­de­pen­dence and the abil­ity to so­cialise.”

It costs more than $22,500 to breed, raise, train and match a guide dog and they are pro­vided free of charge.

Par­ents are mated nat­u­rally or ar­ti­fi­cially at the cen­tre but they are not al­ways labradors. Ger­man shep­herds, golden re­triev­ers and poo­dles are also bred.

Pup­pies are born and spend their first two

Paws for thought: A play­ful pup rolls around on the grass.

Nosy parker: A puppy

gets up close and per­sonal.

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