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Hanmer Businesses Challenged To Sponsor Guide Dogs

Hanmer Businesses Challenged To Sponsor Guide Dogs

The Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve is challenging local businesses to follow its lead by sponsoring guide dogs and becoming "Puppy Pals".

The Thermal Reserve is officially kicking off the challenge on 2 April, the first day of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind's Guide Dog Appeal, with a half-hour guide dog demonstration at midday at the Village Green.

The Thermal Reserve will start the ball rolling putting $30 a month towards the Foundation's Puppy Sponsorship programme.

Thermal Reserve General Manager Graeme Abbot says the idea stemmed from the Reserve staff's friendship with Hanmer personality and Visitor Information Centre consultant Greg Dellow, who is blind.

"We wanted to get behind Greg's push to get the Hanmer business community involved. We've seen the issues he has to deal with every day and this has led to our determination to help the blind and vision impaired community," says Mr Abbot.

It costs $22,500 to breed, raise, train and match a guide dog to a blind or visually impaired New Zealander. There is no government funding for guide dogs. Guide Dog Services relies entirely on volunteer time, donations, legacies and corporate sponsorship. Becoming a "Puppy Pal" can cost as little as $15 a month, with sponsors receiving photos and regular pupdates of how the puppies in training are progressing.

Greg Dellow says by getting involved in the programme, Hanmer businesses can help make a real difference to the life of a blind or visually impaired New Zealander. "Guide dogs provide lots of things that other people don't ever have to think about like mobility, independence, safety and companionship," says Mr Dellow.

"We'll be writing to all Hanmer businesses inviting them to take part in the challenge and showing them how to do so. With any luck, the RNZFB will have received a substantial present from the Hanmer Business community by the time the campaign ends on 30 April," says Graeme Abbot.

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