Red Puppy Ap­peal counts on col­lec­tors

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Vol­un­teers are be­ing sought to raise money for this year’s Red Puppy Ap­peal.

The ap­peal raises funds for the breed­ing and train­ing of guide dogs used by blind peo­ple across the coun­try.

Ali­son Wheat­ley from The Blind Foun­da­tion says pub­lic help is vi­tal to keep the pro­gramme op­er­at­ing.

‘‘We don’t charge our mem­bers to re­ceive a guide dog – all the costs for breed­ing and train­ing are met by pub­lic do­na­tions, spon­sor­ship and lega­cies. That’s why the Red Puppy Ap­peal is so im­por­tant,’’ Ms Wheat­ley says.

There are cur­rently 230 work­ing guide dogs around New Zealand.

But the wait­ing list is 12 months long and it can take even longer to find a guide dog to suit some­one with spe­cial needs.

Guide dogs help peo­ple who are blind or have low vi­sion gain in­de­pen­dence for day-to-day tasks like catch­ing a bus, cross­ing the road and din­ing out.

Train­ing a puppy costs thou­sands of dol­lars and it takes two years be­fore they grad­u­ate.

Once as­signed to an owner, a dog’s work­ing life av­er­ages eight to 10 years.

Some of this year’s grad­u­ates will go to peo­ple who haven’t had a guide dog be­fore while others will re­place re­tir­ing guide dogs.

Car­ing ca­nine: The Blind Foun­da­tion is seek­ing vol­un­teers to help raise money to train guide dogs. on March 28 and 29 visit red­puppy.org.nz or phone 0800 120 254.

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