Update of Ritchies Sponsored Guide Dog Puppies
Guide Dogs provide vision impaired people with freedom and independence and carry the duty of ensuring that their vision impaired handler travels safely around the community. This job carries great responsibility, so prospective Guide Dogs must progress through an extensive selection and training process to ensure that they can safely guide a vision impaired person.
The selection process involves an intensive five day assessment during which the temperament of the dog is observed, and their reaction to different situations and stresses is scored. Dogs assessed as having excellent temperament required for Guide Dog work undertake five months training. Of the 130 puppies bred each year by Guide Dogs Victoria, about half are assessed as being suitable to go on to become Guide Dogs.
Each Guide Dog is provided to a vision impaired person free of charge, but will ultimately cost the association around $25,000.00 through the course of his working life. Ritchies Community Benefit Card program is a great opportunity for members of the community to support their favourite charity like Guide Dogs Victoria.
In 2002, Guide Dog Puppy ‘Ritchie' was born and named in thanks and recognition of the generosity of Ritchies' shoppers through Ritchies Community Benefit Card Program. When it came time for Ritchie to be assessed to continue on with his Guide Dog training, he unfortunately did not demonstrate the high level of confidence required for Guide Dog work and was reclassified. He has since gone on to become a family pet, whilst two of his siblings went on to become working Guide Dogs, and another went on to be a Companion Dog.
In honour of Ritchies CEO Mr Fred Harrison, Guide Dog Puppy ‘Freddy' was named. After his 12 months of Puppy Raising he came into Guide Dogs Victoria Kew Campus for his initial assessment. Freddy passed and spent five months in intensive training. Freddy graduated in December 2004 as a fully-fledged Guide Dog, which is a wonderful success story. This could not have been achieved without Ritchies support. Freddy was an exceptional Guide Dog and in February 2005 was carefully chosen by the Guide Dog Manager to further his ‘career' with our sister school in Japan - The Guide Dog and Service Dogs Association of Japan (GD&SDAJ). Guide Dogs Victoria has an excellent relationship with GD&SDAJ and has been supplying trained and untrained dogs to them for many years. Freddy was matched with a vision impaired person, enabling them to become independent by providing mobility and freedom many of us take for granted. It is expected Freddy will continue to be the guiding eyes for this person for many years to come.
Guide Dog Puppy ‘Kia' was one of 12 pups born on 1st February, 2005 to proud parents Nelson and Winsome. In October 2006, Kia was successful in her assessment and training and is now a qualified working Guide Dog. Now three and a half years old, Kia lives in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne with a vision impaired lady and is very much loved. Kia and her handler are about to head north to Queensland for the winter. Half their luck!
‘Buddy' was born on 16 November, 2007, of proud parents Jazz (min) and Herbie (Golden Retriever). Buddy is currently enjoying living with his volunteer Puppy Raising Family. Buddy is having fun exploring new places and understanding new commands. He is slowly being introduced to new environments, building his confidence inside small shops and cafes. Buddy's Puppy Raiser Advisor is very happy with his concentration and he is improving all the time. So far Buddy is doing very well and all are very impressed with how much he has grown and matured over the past six months.
Guide Dog Puppy ‘Victor' was born on 25 July, 2006. Having passed all his training and assessment, Victor graduated in April, 2008. Victor was carefully chosen for a middle aged vision impaired lady living in country Victoria. They make a well-matched Guide Dog team and Victor is her second Guide Dog. Victor is helping her become independent by providing the mobility and freedom that most of us take for granted. It is expected that Victor will continue to be her guiding eyes for many years to come.
Guide Dogs CB No. 90671