Blind Low Vision NZ call for volunteers

Matamata’s Rosemary Locke with her dog Honor.

Blind Low Vision NZ is looking for collectors for its annual appeal next month.

The search is on to find volunteers to hit the streets and collect money for the Blind Low Vision NZ (formerly Blind Foundation) Red Puppy Appeal street collection.

On March 26 and 27 the collection will raise funds to train and care for a new generation of much needed guide dogs.

Blind Low Vision NZ has set a collection goal of $300,000 and needs 2000 volunteer collectors.

Every day, an average of six people turn to Blind Low Vision NZ for support with their sight loss. Guide dogs help people who are blind, deaf-blind, or have low vision retain their independence and move through life safely and confidently.

Blind Low Vision NZ Guide Dogs breeds and trains about 100 puppies each year, and it takes nearly two years, and more than $50,000 to raise and train each guide dog.

Blind Low Vision NZ runs the country’s only guide dog breeding and training facility funded through the generosity of New Zealanders.

“As Blind Low Vision NZ Guide Dogs is not government funded we are extremely grateful to everyone who supports our Red Puppy Appeal,” Blind Low Vision NZ Chief Executive John Mulka said.

“Guide dogs play a life-changing role for people who are blind, deaf-blind or have low vision, and I want to also acknowledge all the volunteers who help us train guide dogs for people who really need them.

Matamata’s Rosemary Locke is a volunteer for Red Puppy Appeal and knows first-hand how important the guide dog service is. She is on her fourth guide dog, a black Labrador named Honor.

“I can’t drive a car but she’s my wheels. Having a guide dog is the most wonderful thing. It has completely changed my life and given me so much more independence – I wouldn’t be where I am today without a guide dog.”

Rosemary volunteers to give back to what see called “the most wonderful service” and she encourages others to do the same.

For information go to www.redpuppy.org.nz or call 0800 787 743.

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