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Chief Supports The Chiefs'

Chief Supports The Chiefs'

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-RNZFB

CHIEF SUPPORTS THE CHIEFS'

Chief, the 10-week-old guide dog puppy the Chiefs' are supporting, is keen to return their favour at their final home game in Hamilton on 29 April.

Chiefs' supporters at three of the Telecom Super12 team's home games in Thames, Pukekohe and Rotorua have so far given $5,500 towards the $22,500 the Chiefs' are aiming to raise to support the training of Chief - a black Labrador Retriever from the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind's Guide Dog Services.

"The generousity of our supporters has been amazing," says Pat Mellsop, Marketing Manager, Chiefs'.

"In spite of the tough run the team has had in the Super12 competition, people have got behind our desire to raise money for Chief - as well as cheering on the team.

"Our game on Saturday 29 April against the Brumbies at Rugby Park in Hamilton gives our home town crowds a last chance to support Chief."

For the last two and a half weeks Chief has been in Hamilton with experienced puppy walkers (and rugby supporters) Brian and Elaine Smith.

"He's just at the start of the Champ Guide Dog Puppy Development Programme," says Guide Dog Services, Puppy Development Manager, Paula Lee, "and he'll need a lot of care, attention and socialisation during the 12 to 18 months he is with Brian and Elaine.

"Chief is learning simple commands like `sit' and `stay' among other things. He is also getting used to different situations and will go on to become familiar with riding public transport like buses and going into public areas like shops."

Elaine says that Chief is already a welcome visitor at her tennis club, and enjoys the outdoors to the extent that they have had to fence off their vegetable garden because he has been raiding it.

Although (under rugby union rules) Chief cannot participate in the Chiefs' game against the Brumbies, he will be making a special appearance to `woof' from the sidelines.

"At the moment, we are just holding our place on the points table," says Pat Mellsop, "and the Brumbies are first - so we'll be looking for some extra special support from Chief and the crowd at Saturday's game before we head for South Africa."

The Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind will be present at the Telecom Super12 game, 2.35pm on 29 April against the Brumbies in Hamilton. Watch out for the official RNZFB collectors at the entrances and exits to the game.

If you are not attending the game but still want to show your support you can make a donation by contacting the Waikato Guide Dog Appeal team on 0800 Dog Day (0800 364 329). Or, keep an eye out for the auction of a sought after autographed Chiefs' Telecom Super 12 adidas rugby jersey during Guide Dog Appeal on 28 and 29 April.

ENDS

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