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Celebrating the G and I Litter’s Graduation

February 18, 2021
Facility Dog Gilbert, a yellow Labrador, looking off to the left of camera.

Nearly 200 Guide Dogs supporters joined us on Wednesday, 10 February, to celebrate the Graduation of the G and I Litter puppies-in-training, and formally recognise our newest Guide Dog teams.

Chief Executive Officer of Guide Dogs SA/NT, Aaron Chia, hosted the event at the prestigious Adelaide Oval, proudly congratulating members of the G and I Litter on completing their puppy training journeys.

Puppy sponsors, corporate supporters, major donors and board members were among the guests eager to meet Gilbert, Gizmo, Gem, Iris and Imani and hear how far they’ve come since starting their journeys just over two years ago.

“Our Guide Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs and Therapy Dogs, which include Facility Dogs, enable independence, participation, inclusion and wellbeing for people with vision impairment, children living with autism and their families,” said Aaron.

“Graduation represents a major milestone in the lives of our puppies-in-training.”

Our Guide Dogs and Autism Assistance Dogs require a very special temperament and skill set, and not every puppy will ultimately be suited.

During training, we may identify some of our dogs as being a better fit for the role of a Facility Dog, where they improve the wellbeing of the people they meet in a range of environments, such as schools, hospitals or even courtrooms.

Two of our graduates, Gilbert and Iris, are making a real difference in the community as Facility Dogs. Gilbert is bringing joy to people at The Society of Saint Hilarion Aged Care facility. Gilbert’s handler, Milani, shared a beautiful story about the special bond between Gilbert and the residents.

Iris is supporting students, who have disengaged from mainstream schooling options, in the Wirreanda Adaptive Vocational Education (WAVE) program. Handlers Paul and Mandy spoke about the positive impact Iris is having at the school, while school Principal Caroline was also there to celebrate the special occasion.

Gilbert, a yellow Labrador, standing on stage with his handler Milani.

Image caption: Gilbert, a yellow Labrador, standing on stage with his handler Milani.

Iris, a black Labrador wearing a yellow Facility Dog jacket, standing on stage with her handlers Paul and Mandy.

Image caption: Iris, a black Labrador wearing a yellow Facility Dog jacket, standing on stage with her handlers Paul and Mandy.

Iris’ sister Imani was unable to attend the event as she’s preparing to become a Mum. Imani showed so much potential during training that she graduated as a brood, nurturing our next generation of puppies. Once Imani leaves her litter, she will continue her career as an Autism Assistance Dog.

Our next two graduates, Gem and Gizmo, decided the working life isn’t for them and are now enjoying lives of leisure, providing companionship as much-loved family pets.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room shortly after when special guest speaker, Darren from The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, took to the stage to talk about the incredible success of Canine Court Companion Zero. Zero is breaking new ground in South Australia, supporting vulnerable victims and witnesses of crimes during court cases.

Guide Dogs SA/NT CEO Aaron Chia is standing on stage next to Canine Court Companion Zero, a black Labrador, and his handler Darren.

Image caption: Guide Dogs SA/NT CEO Aaron Chia is standing on stage next to Canine Court Companion Zero, a black Labrador, and his handler Darren.

Next, Dog Services Manager Dan Hyde proudly introduced our three newest Guide Dog partnerships: Rodney with Guide Dog Dakota, Anthony with Guide Dog Kit and Sacha with Guide Dog Jesse.

These ‘perfect’ matches were made possible by the national Dog Centre of Excellence, where we bring together the best minds in the field across the country to create the best outcomes for our clients.

The success of the national collaboration was also on show when the new F, G, H, & I Litter puppies were presented on stage. Guests were delighted to meet Fargo, Floyd, Gwen and Hutch, who are aged between three and four months-old, and also gushed when 10-week-old pups Ivy and Isla were carried up by our Puppy trainers.

These pups are just beginning their training journeys and we can’t wait to see them develop as Guide Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs or Therapy Dogs, thanks to the support of our Puppy Sponsors.

We thank guests for joining us on this very special day and extend our gratitude to Adelaide Oval for their generous hospitality.

Guide Dogs Client Rodney standing on stage with his Guide Dog Kit, a yellow Labrador wearing a harness.

Image caption: Guide Dogs Client Rodney standing on stage with his Guide Dog Kit, a yellow Labrador wearing a harness.

Guide Dogs Client Anthony with his Guide Dog Kit, a black Labrador wearing a harness, being led on stage by a Guide Dogs staff member.

Image caption: Guide Dogs Client Anthony with his Guide Dog Kit, a black Labrador wearing a harness, being led on stage by a Guide Dogs staff member.

Guide Dogs SA/NT CEO Aaron Chia standing on stage with Guide Dogs Client Sacha and her Guide Dog Jesse, a black Labrador who is wearing a harness. Aaron is presenting Sacha with a certificate.

Image caption: Guide Dogs SA/NT CEO Aaron Chia standing on stage with Guide Dogs Client Sacha and her Guide Dog Jesse, a black Labrador who is wearing a harness. Aaron is presenting Sacha with a certificate.

Two young Labrador puppies, Ivy and Isla, one yellow and one black, being held up by two Guide Dogs staff members.

Image caption: Two young Labrador puppies, Ivy and Isla, one yellow and one black, being held up by two Guide Dogs staff members.



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