When a Guide Dog team comes together, the news is worthy of being shared far and wide, because it takes a whole community, including the support of organisations such as the Eastern Star Foundation, to make these partnerships happen. One such partnership is Anne-Marie and her Guide Dog, Jerry.
Anne-Marie transitioned to retirement on the Gold Coast after working as an Occupational Therapist both in New Zealand and Australia for many years. But with more time to herself and surrounded by beautiful beaches, she realised that she missed being able to go for walks independently and swimming. That’s when Anne-Marie decided to apply for a Guide Dog.
“A Guide Dog makes everything smoother for me. I’ve been a cane user for many years, but there is something special about working with a Guide Dog. It’s just easier and I have so much more independence.”
“Jerry is my third Guide Dog, and he is such a smart little man. He loves to please; everything is a game to him, and he loves a work challenge.”
Being matched with a Guide Dog and receiving orientation and mobility services is a life-changing experience that would not be possible without the support of donors such as the grant of $50,000 received from the Eastern Star Foundation Last year.
The grant was used to purchase a vehicle and pay for the vehicle’s running costs for 12 months to ensure that senior clients like Anne-Marie with low or no vision in South East Queensland, and their Guide Dogs, could access programs, training and services in the community.
“With a fit-for-purpose vehicle, like the one the Eastern Star Foundation funded, we can improve efficiencies including training more Guide Dogs, in between delivering services to clients.” said Lee Buckingham, Guide Dog Services General Manager.
Eastern Star Foundation Chair Elizabeth Watt, said the Foundation’s purpose was to provide grants to organisations to support evidence-based programs and initiatives that help the aged to remain independent, practice choice, participate in their community and have a support network.
“We are incredibly proud to have been able to help build Guide Dog teams such as Anne-Marie and Jerry,” said Elizabeth.