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Calling supporters for 2013 Red Puppy Appeal
On April 5 and 6 this year, the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) needs a brigade of volunteers to collect money throughout the country.
RNZFB is calling for people to take part in the annual Red Puppy Appeal by volunteering to collect money in their local area and fundraise for the breeding and training of guide dogs.
By spending just a few hours on April 5 and 6 collecting on the streets, in local malls, supermarkets and shopping centres, volunteers will be helping people who are blind or have low vision, like 11-year-old Amy from New Plymouth.
Like most children, Amy wants a puppy. But for Amy having a dog has a special significance and will give her the independence she has never had.
Right now Amy is learning how to use a cane with the help of Jo, one of RNZFB’s dedicated Independent Life Skills Specialists, which she is using this year at intermediate school.
Amy hopes that one day she will be able to have the constant companion of a RNZFB guide dog. “Having a guide dog would be amazing! I could catch the bus by myself and go to so many places!” says Amy.
RNZFB guide dogs give people the freedom and confidence to live an independent life. There is currently a 12 month waiting list and it can take even longer for people with particular needs.
RNZFB Executive Director of Supporter Marketing and Fundraising, Alison Wheatley, says RNZFB puppies go through a robust training programme before they graduate to become working guide dogs.
“We do not charge our members to receive a RNZFB guide dog – all the costs for breeding and training are met by public donations, sponsorship and legacies. Right now there are people still waiting to receive guide dogs, so it’s really important we get donations to maintain this life-changing service,” says Alison Wheatley.
Keen supporters of the Red Puppy Appeal include the Prime Minister’s wife Bronagh Key, Kate Hawkesby and Mike Hosking.
To sign up to be a volunteer on April 5 and 6, visit redpuppy.org.nz or phone 0800 120 254.
Notes to Editors about RNZFB and Guide Dog Services:
• The RNZFB is New Zealand’s main provider of sight loss services to people who are blind or have low vision.
• The RNZFB equips its members with the adaptive skills, technology and resources they need to overcome the barriers they face to participating fully in society and leading independent lives.
• Every day an average of three New Zealanders register with the RNZFB for support with sight loss.
• RNZFB guide dogs are taught to guide people around hazards, negotiate traffic, locate common destinations and travel on public transport. RNZFB puppies are identified by their bright red coats and the average working life of a RNZFB guide dog is eight to 10 years.
• The RNZFB receives no government funding for Guide Dog Services so your support of the Red Puppy Appeal will help Kiwis who are blind or have low vision live a full and independent life.