Victoria Park: Guide Dogs WA celebration unites men with new canine companions

Roger Jones with his guide dog Chelsea.
Eric Seery with his guide dog Sundae.
Roger Jones with his guide dog Chelsea. Eric Seery with his guide dog Sundae.

TWO men celebrated a major milestone, graduating with their companions in a ceremony hosted by Guide Dogs WA.

The Babbingur Ceremony was held at the organisation’s base in Victoria Park on June 22 and featured Eric Seery and Roger Jones.

A number of Guide Dogs WA supporters, volunteers, donors, sponsors, puppy raisers, staff and community members attended the ceremony to celebrate the union of the two life-changing guide dog partnerships.

Guide Dogs WA chief operating officer Debra Barnes said the organisation hosted several guide dog graduations each year because they were a wonderful opportunity to share the stories of each journey from puppy to working dog,

Mr Seery met his match in November when he was introduced to guide dog Sundae.

“From the start, I had a strong, positive feeling about Sundae,” he said.

Mr Seery has been blind since he was a child, diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease at just eight years old.

“My vision loss was sudden and unexpected; one day in Year 3 I was able to read the blackboard from the back of the class, and the next day I couldn’t,” he said.

Mr Jones said he had found a new lease on life since being matched with guide dog Chelsea in 2016.

“I’m getting out of the house a lot more, I pick up the harness and Chelsea gets excited to go for a walk,” he said.

The ceremony is referred to as a Babbingur Ceremony, with Babbingur a Nyoongar word that describes loyal and devoted friendship.

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