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Winner Drawn August 16th

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About us

At Guide Dogs Victoria, we provide vital support for Victorians with low vision or blindness. We have done since 1957. Since then, our services have grown far beyond just the dogs themselves to include a wide range of community initiatives, and training and education programs.

We work to ensure people with low vision or blindness are active and involved members of the community. We do this by teaching practical skills to help children and adults reach their personal potential: regardless of when or how they became affected by low vision or blindness

We are proud to have been named Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Charity for seven years running, in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2020

There are close to 200 puppies who need your help to keep them fed, nurtured, trained and raised as they continue their journey to becoming a treasured Guide Dog, Companion Dog or Pets as Therapy Dog.

How your supPAWt helps


Veterinary Care

Donation Guide Dogs

Training Programs

Puppy Raising

Why we need you?

Guide Dogs Victoria work to ensure people with low vision or blindness are active and involved members of the community.

It cost $50,000 to breed, raise, train an adorable puppy to become a suitable Guide Dog. We rely on the generosity of people like you, to ensure we can provide these vital services, so that children and adults can live independently.

I’d like to introduce you to a very special partnership – Guide Dog Handler, Natasha and her Guide Dog, Nirvana. Nirvana loves being a Guide Dog and she looks so proud when she’s guiding Natasha. It takes an enormous amount of expertise in our breeding and training programs to become a qualified Guide Dog.

Natasha knew it was time to seek help when her vision loss kept declining. “One day, I collided with a woman at the station. I couldn’t see her. I was left shocked and devastated. That’s when I knew I needed help.”

Natasha didn’t see the woman in front of her. She couldn’t.

The only thing Natasha can see in front of her is a dark, empty area or blind spot. Natasha has macular dystrophy, a genetic condition that, for no apparent reason, triggers the degradation of the retinal cells in an area of your eye called the macular which controls your central vision. If it is damaged, you cannot see what is right in front of you. There is no cure for macular dystrophy, only a steady worsening of your sight. Although she was diagnosed with the condition when she was eight, it didn’t affect her. When she was a young girl, Natasha played sports, rode her bike, and got up to the same mischief as all the other kids. But as she grew older Natasha’s eyesight worsened, and her low vision impacted her life every day in many ways. It means she can’t have a driver’s licence and drive a car. Going up and down steps is difficult because she can’t see them, as a result, she has had several falls. And then Natasha ran into the woman at the station, “And that’s when I thought I have to do something. This cannot be.” said Natasha.

Natasha knew Guide Dogs Victoria would help.

She knew it was time to seek help; she could no longer manage alone, that’s when she turned to Guide Dogs Victoria and asked about what services we could provide to support her. A Guide Dog was Natasha’s choice after she considered her options. Guide Dogs Victoria provides a range of skills training that is individually tailored for each person to maximise their independence. It may be learning how to use assistive technology such as a screen reader on a computer. Or perhaps using a handheld device to detect objects like trees or poles in their path or using apps on a smartphone. It truly is a personalised service. When Natasha sought help from Guide Dogs Victoria, her priority was to learn to use a long cane to safely travel to and from work in busy crowds. Natasha explains “I started going in for mobility training and using the long cane, and I was using that for quite a few years.”

Natasha access the life-changing support they need to live an independent life.

As Natasha’s vision loss continued her life became more challenging, and her needs changed.

She knew, for her, it was time for a Guide Dog.

That’s when Nirvana came into Natasha’s life and turned everything around. Since having Nirvana, going to work in the city is now much easier because as Natasha explains “Nirvana

she’s great with people. She dodges and nudges them out of the way. And she takes me straight up to crossings. Escalators in the city are no problem.” And thankfully, Natasha hasn’t had any more collisions with other pedestrians. Nirvana makes Natasha feel safe. In her own words having Nirvana is “amazing”

But here’s the thing; It takes about two years and more than $50,000 to train one Guide Dog. Being a Guide Dog takes something special that can be developed through expert breeding and a two-year program of nutrition, training, socialisation, and health care to turn the potential of puppies into reliable, safe, highly skilled Guide Dogs like Nirvana. Guide Dogs Victoria relies heavily on generous donations from Victorians to fund our services. Over 70% of our income comes the support of people like you. Guide Dogs wouldn’t exist without kind and caring supporters like you. Even more importantly, people with low vision or blindness wouldn’t receive the extra support they need to make their own life choices without people like you.

Every year in Australia more and more people are affected by low vision or blindness. It is estimated by the year 2030, almost 70 people a day will experience low vision or blindness. That is one in 30 people in our community. Within the next six years, you, someone you know, or a loved one may be affected. With your help, we will be able to provide the support to meet this growing need. Looking back over the last eighteen months, Natasha realises just how much better her life has been with Nirvana. “Since having Nirvana, I feel more secure. It’s been a positive experience. I can still do all the things I love; be with the people I love and now I have this wonderful companion too” Natasha says. Thanks to the support she’s received from Guide Dogs every step of the way, Natasha lives the life she wants to lead; working, attending music festivals, and continuing to pursue her passion – singing in choirs. “As my sight has deteriorated, Guide Dogs has supported me at each stage. They are amazing. I can still do all the things I love; be with the people I love and now I have this wonderful companion too.” Natasha says. With your support, Guide Dogs empowers people to live the life they choose. Whether that’s maintaining a home, being out and about, attending work, school, or university, we provide people with the mobility aids or training they need to achieve their goals.

My name is Lucy, I’m 20 years old and was born with a genetic disorder affecting my eyes. From a young age, my life changed for the better, thanks to people like you who support the vital work of Guide Dogs. Guide Dogs helped me redefine what it is to be a person with low vision and challenge how people think about the disabled community. I want to share this story with you today.

I was born with Oculocutaneous Albinism (OCA), a group of genetic disorders characterised by a reduced or complete lack of melanin pigment in the hair, skin and eyes. My eyes are very sensitive to light because they produce no melanin. I first came to Guide Dogs when I was around eight years old to participate in a children’s mobility camp. I was not yet using any mobility aids. A year later, I was playing around with some friends at a family BBQ when I lost my footing and fell. At that moment, my family knew it was time to find out what options were available to help me identify obstacles. Guide Dogs provided me with a white cane and taught me the necessary skills to enhance my mobility. Although it served me well for many years, using a cane required a lot of concentration, and I would come home physically and mentally exhausted. When I began travelling into the city for university each day, it was clear I needed to find another way to enhance my independence. I started the conversation with my family about the next steps. After some initial consultations and training, I got the call I had been waiting for. I had been matched with Guide Dog, Dottie, who has transformed my life since that day! With Dottie in my life, I am no longer exhausted after a long day at university. I have more energy to focus on my studies and free time to spend with family and friends. My family rest easy knowing that I can navigate the busy city environment safely with Dottie by my side. I am now part of the Guide Dogs family, and they have been there to support me every step of the way. I hope that others like me continue to have this opportunity in the future.

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