Two Rockingham pups to graduate

David Goddard with guide dog Olly.
David Goddard with guide dog Olly.

SOME very special Labradors will reach a milestone next week when they graduate as official guide dogs.

Among the group will be some Rockingham locals: David Gooddard with Olly and Danny Van Vliet with Landy.

Mr Goddard said it had taken two and a half years to find the right dog for him.

“I was diagnosed with a genectic condition – Retinitis pigmentosa where I started to lose my vision at age 14,” he said.

“My vision declined after that and I was using a cane for a while. I needed the right dog – I’m tall so I needed a tall dog.”

“Now even though I wished I had a dog earlier it was worth the wait.

“Olly really is something special – just a class above – he’s very intuitive.”

Danny Van Vliet was matched to guide dog Landy earlier in the year.

He suffered vision loss from detached retinas and severe glaucoma.

“Landy makes it possible for me to go anywhere and at anytime – he has had an incredible impact on my life and if it was not for the support of his sponsors, puppy raisers, boarders and trainers we would not be together today,” he said.

“Landy is a mate, and an absolutely joy. When he is guiding me I can now concentrate on other things rather than looking down at the pavement and worry about obstacles.

“He is very lively, happy and loves to play with a plush toy or the family pet dog. But when he is in harness, it is all work.

“Landy drops the toy, stands still, is serious and ready for work.”

Olly and Landy are both golden Labrador/Retrievers with a gentle natures.

Mr Van Vliet appreciates community support and respect for working guide dogs who should not be distracted.

“I know he is a very handsome dog and it can be difficult to ignore him when we are at the shops or out walking, but please just ignore him and continue with your shopping or activity,” he said.

The graduation will be held on Thursday, September 20 hosted by Guide Dogs WA at the Central Park building in the Perth CBD.

Seven Guide Dogs and their handlers will be graduating and will be joined by puppy raisers, boarders, sponsors, friends, family and trainers involved in each dogs journey to graduation.

Alongside the graduation will be the Pup Art exhibition –Pup Art is a collection of 24 iconic Guide Dogs WA coin collection dogs as never seen before thanks to a transformation by local artists.