Guide dog centre leading the way
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.