Hillsy leads the way

What a woofer: James House with Michele O’Neill and Hillsy the guide dog.
What a woofer: James House with Michele O’Neill and Hillsy the guide dog.

But as soon her owner James House attaches the signature eye-catching dog vest, Hillsy immediately goes on duty.

Hillsy and Mr House were at the school with for their official graduation ceremony.

It was held at the school because teacher Michele O’Neill, who raised Hillsy as a puppy, brought the labrador to her science classes for two years.

Hillsy, said Ms O’Neill had a ‘profound’ effect on student’s behaviour and interacting with her was a great incentive for students to complete work.

‘I never expected the dog to be a behaviour-regulating tool,’ she said. ‘All guide dogs are amazing, but there is something special about Hillsy,’ Ms O’Neill said

Mr House, who lives in Sorrento, has 8 per cent central vision and says Hillsy has given him back his independence and freedom.

‘Hillsy has brought daily routine and flexibility into my life by making it possible for me to go walking or use public transport at any time,’ he said.’

‘I recently went out in the afternoon when it was pitch black, prior to her I wouldn’t do that because I can’t judge how far away a car was or cross the road.’

The college hosted the pair’s Babbingur graduation ceremony, which celebrates the partnership between a guide dog and its owner, last Friday.

Babbingur is a Nyoongar word that describes a ‘very loyal and devoted friendship’.