Australian Honour for volunteer Claire

June 12, 2017
A Yellow Labrador puppy laying down looking excitedly up towards the camera

It is with great pride that Guide Dogs SA congratulates volunteer Claire Donovan who has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Claire is one of Guide Dogs SA/s longest-serving Puppy Raiser and Home Boarder and she is truly an inspiration for others. She says she doesn’t see the work she does as something she should receive recognition for, but rather as an honour and privilege to have dogs of such important in her care.

When learning of her honour, Claire said: “I am so humbled to be given an award for doing something that I love!”

Claire has opened up her home to more than 60 of our puppies, either as a Puppy Raiser or a short term boarder, and some on multiple occasions.  Claire keeps a “brag book” of all the dogs and pups she cares for and has photos of every single dog or puppy she has ever looked after and the dates they were in her care. She loves them all and remembers their birthdays.

Her first puppy Panda became a Guide Dog in Darwin and Claire kept in contact with her through Panda’s blind handler. When Panda retired from service Panda came home to Claire to be cared for until her last days, which sadly occurred after an all-too-short time.

As well as volunteering, Claire’s generosity of spirit has provided many regular donations over the years from herself and on behalf of family members. Her most recent  donation for Guide Dogs will enable the establishment of a memorial garden to honour our magnificent Guide Dogs who have passed away. Panda’s plaque was the first to be placed.

She has also given many community talks about Guide Dogs to help inform the community and has also volunteered at Girl Guides for more than 40 years. She was recently presented with a 15 Year Volunteer Service Certificate by the Chief Executive of Guide Dogs SA/NT Aaron Chia.

Claire is a humble and most generous friend of Guide Dogs. Heartfelt congratulations from all of us at Guide Dogs.

See each and every dog Claire has cared for here.