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Guide Dogs - Calling volunteers for 2014 Red Puppy Appeal

Sam needs your help to become a Guide Dog

Calling volunteers for 2014 Red Puppy Appeal

If Sam didn’t wear his flash red jacket, he would look just like any other exceptionally cute puppy. But this little fella, like 120 others each year, is out to change lives.

They’re guide dogs in training and, in order for them to do their job, The Blind Foundation needs your help.

The Blind Foundation is calling for volunteers for the 2014 Red Puppy Appeal on March 28 and 29 to raise funds for the breeding and training of guide dogs.

Dogs like Sam really do change lives, giving people who are blind or have low vision the freedom and confidence to live an independent life. That means helping to carry out day-to-day tasks like catching the bus, crossing the road and dining out.

As of January 2014, there are 230 working guide dogs around New Zealand. However, the waiting list is around 12 months and it can take even longer to find a guide dog for people with particular needs. This time can be reduced significantly if more guide dogs are bred and trained.

Blind Foundation Executive Director of Supporter Marketing and Fundraising, Alison Wheatley, says guide dog puppies go through two years of rigorous training before they graduate. Once assigned, their 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.

“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,” says Wheatley.

“The continued generous support of the New Zealand public enables our puppies to succeed in their vital work.”

Keen supporters of the Red Puppy Appeal include the Prime Minister’s wife Bronagh Key and broadcasters Kate Hawkesby and Mike Hosking.

To support Sam and his chums, sign up to be a volunteer on March 28 and 29 by visiting redpuppy.org.nz or phone 0800 120 254.

About the Blind Foundation
• The Blind Foundation is New Zealand’s main provider of sight loss services to people who are blind or have low vision.
• Every day an average of three New Zealanders register with the Blind Foundation for support with sight loss.
• The Blind Foundation equips its clients with the adaptive skills, technology and resources they need to overcome the barriers they face to participating fully in society and leading independent lives.
• Most of the people the Blind Foundation supports are not totally blind. There are many eye conditions that cause varying degrees of sight loss and these can affect people of all ages.

Red Puppy Appeal
• Red Puppy Appeal is on from Friday 28 to Saturday 29 March 2014. To volunteer as a street appeal collector or make a donation, visit www.redpuppy.org.nz or phone 0800 RED PUPPY (0800 733 787)
• The Blind Foundation receives no government funding for Blind Foundation Guide Dogs so your support of the Red Puppy Appeal will help Kiwis who are blind or have low vision live a full and independent life.

ENDS

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