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Petbarn provides bark for vision impaired

A FURRY friend visited Petbarn Rosny Park recently, with five-month-old golden retriever Parker greeting customers to educate and raise money for Seeing Eye Dogs Australia.

Parker’s visit was part of an annual appeal by Petbarn stores across the country to raise donations to help Seeing Eye Dogs train young puppies to help support people who are blind or have low vision.

Seeing Eye Dogs puppy carer Clementine Binks said a puppy was trained with safety in mind.

“The way these dogs are trained is to alert their person to obstacles in their way and help them find the safest route around,” she said.

However, Ms Binks said it was a long and expensive process.

“At the moment, there’s a two-year waiting list for someone who is blind or has low vision to actually get a fully-trained dog,” she said.

“What we’re trying to do is breed and train as many of these dogs as fast as we can to meet that need.

“It costs up to $100,000 per dog to actually raise them and train them to that high level of safety standards, so every dollar we raise through this particular campaign does make a huge difference to us.”

Ms Binks said she picked Parker up when he was eight-weeks-old.

“We’ve been doing his basic training, basic obedience and socialisation – as he gets older, we’ll start introducing more specific skills until he goes into formal training at 15-months-old,” she said.

“When he goes through the full training process, he’ll become a guide dog for someone who is blind or has low vision to help them live independently, go about their daily business and to gain more confidence and social interaction.”

This is the sixth year Petbarn has run the partnership with Seeing Eye Dogs, having raised more than $500,000 this year.

Petbarn Rosny Park store manager Steve Adkins said the Eastern Shore-based store had raised $5000.

“It’s important for all those people out there who are vision impaired that we raise money for these animals – we want those people to have a better quality of life,” he said.

“The amount we raised is through our customers and it just shows the generosity and the love they have for animals and the willingness to help the greater community.”

For more information, visit https://sed.visionaustralia.org.

Caption: From left, Petbarn Rosny Park assistant manager Peter Dorotka, two-year-old Grace Adkins, Parker the Seeing Eye Dog and Seeing Eye Dogs puppy carer Clementine Binks.