Blind Low Vision NZ is asking New Zealanders to help raise $6 million across the next 18 months to fund the build of new, fit-for-purpose kennels for future guide dogs in training.

Alongside COVID-19 impacts, significant outbreaks of Kennel Cough have made it even more challenging for Blind Low Vision NZ Guide Dogs to graduate the number of dogs needed to meet client needs.

Adding to the challenge, the now 35-year-old kennels no longer meet international best practice. With new kennels, Blind Low Vision NZ Guide Dogs will ensure happier, healthier guide dogs who are ready to take on the role of giving independence back to Kiwis who are blind, deafblind or have low vision.

The new facility will be designed with built-in biosecurity and infection control in mind, featuring a dedicated isolation facility and dedicated vet clinic. In addition to this, there will be an enrichment and physio room as well as a hydro-therapy pool for staff to work with dogs in a quiet, distraction-free area to build up muscle, balance and stability – which is particularly important when a dog has been suffering from an injury or recovering from a virus.

“We want to provide greater open and shared spaces for our dogs to socialise. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible in our current kennels where our dogs can hear but not see each other,” says Peter Hine, Head of Guide Dog Services.

“Having a greater level of socialisation can reduce stress levels and in turn, lead to more successful outcomes for guide dogs in training.”

The kennel rebuild is the next step for Blind Low Vision NZ Guide Dogs in shaping the future of the guide dog programme in New Zealand. By rebuilding the kennels, they hope to increase the number of dogs who successfully graduate by an additional 20%.

“The project was initially signed off in early 2020 and we have been undertaking consultation, planning and design work since then,” says Gwen Green, General Manager Fundraising.

“We are now ready to start the build and need to raise the funds to make this possible. Blind Low Vision NZ Guide Dogs do not receive government funding, so 100% of this build will be funded by our generous donors.”

Blind Low Vision NZ just held its annual Guide Dog Puppy Appeal fundraising event, to raise awareness and funds for guide dogs. Now, the public have the chance to help with this exciting new build to give those guide dogs a special home.

To find out more or make a donation, visit https://blindlowvision.tiny.us/2p9h9mrf or email philanthropy@blindlowvision.org.nz

 

About Blind Low Vision NZ

Blind Low Vision NZ provides Kiwis who are blind, deafblind or have low vision with the practical and emotional support to do the things they need and want to do. Across New Zealand, we meet people in their homes or local Blind Low Vision NZ offices to provide them with personalised vision rehabilitation services. As well as supporting individuals, we seek to make big-picture change by advocating for inclusive communities and for optimal eye care services for all New Zealanders. Blind Low Vision NZ is a charity and is thankful to so many New Zealanders who choose to support our life changing work.

For more information contact:

Laura Skerritt, Head of Marketing and Communications

Blind Low Vision NZ

lskerritt@blindlowvision.org.nz

022 013 0886