Red Puppy Appeal counts on collectors
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.