Guide Dog Vesper is a black Labrador x Golden Retriever who graduated in December 2020.
Vesper found his forever home in the upper South Island. His new partner is a retired gentleman with near 40 years’ experience as a guide dog handler. Vesper quickly stepped into his guide dog role – displaying great initiative, consistency, and excellent house and social manners. Vesper will also be a ‘first mate’ in more ways than one – riding a motorboat frequently with his new family to their holiday home.
Not only will he be sailing the Sounds, Vesper will be very busy going here, there and everywhere with his handler, who is very active and likes to keep fit. Vesper loves to please and will do anything for his people. He enjoys playful interaction and practicing obedience exercises with his new dad. Another thing that Vesper likes is seeking comfort (as in quite cheeky attempts to join his humans on the bed). We wish this new team many kilometres and nautical miles of safe and enjoyable travel.
Puppy Raiser: Sara Mole
Guide Dog Xian is a German Shepherd who graduated in February 2021.
Hamilton has a new guide dog team. Xian and his new handler will be clocking up the kilometres in their local environment and the handler remarked he would be needing to do some warm up stretches with his new, young exuberant guide dog.
Having had three previous guide dogs, it is the first time the handler has worked with a German Shepherd, which has taken some adjusting in terms of how light Xian is on his paws, and how he often turns his head to take in the environment. The team attend church services in the weekend and Xian has displayed immaculate social behavior, afterwards enjoying the attention of all the children where he is always very gentle, even with toddlers. Once back home, Xian has the handler’s retired guide dog to play with and a cat to snuggle. There was nothing better than seeing the big smile on the handler’s face as the team learned to work independently throughout the training program.
Aztec and her new handler have forged a strong friendship and partnership – they are never apart and work well as a team. This handler is a first time guide dog user and she has a lovely natural affinity with animals, having both a pet dog and a horse as well. The new team can be seen strolling the streets to local family members’ houses and cafes in the northern Auckland region and catching buses to university where they negotiate the unstructured environment with ease. Aztec loves her daily outings and has really grown into her role as a guide dog after initially facing a few challenges in an environment with lots of new smells and plenty of pet dogs wanting to say hello. This team has been a pleasure to work with and watch develop into a dynamic young team.
Puppy Raiser: Sara Leavy
Guide Dog Yazz is a black Labrador Retriever who graduated in March 2021.Yazz and his new handler have bonded quickly after an intensive training period. They are out daily on their local residential routes in the lower
North Island. Walks include residential areas, local shops, the mall and bus trips. Yazz’s handler loves his careful approach on uneven surfaces and they are both growing in confidence together.
Yazz is very partial to a tummy rub, loves his cosy new bed and enjoys a good chew of his nylobone after a big day out. He also enjoyed a kibble iceblock after training on those hot summer days.
Puppy Raiser: Maureen Craven
Guide Dog Lennox is a black Labrador Retriever who graduated in March 2021.
Lennox is the second guide dog for a gentleman who has lived in the greater Auckland area for over 30 years. Lennox will be clocking up the kms with his handler who loves to walk and is very involved with Blind Low Vision NZ.
This was a unique training programme having had several ‘interruptions’ due to COVID, bank holidays and unavoidable staff changes; however, the team took it all in stride. Lennox and his handler are learning to read each other’s movements, like new dance partners, growing more confident with each step.
Lennox’s handler appreciates his excellent home behaviour and quiet social demeanour. His handler looks forward to taking Lennox to frequent concerts, confident he will settle into his gentlemanly manner with ease while the orchestra trumpets on.
Puppy Raiser: Maree Burgess
Guide Dog Renee is a black Labrador Retriever who graduated in March 2021.
Renee and her new client are fast becoming not only workmates but best friends, and they enjoy their daily outings in their sunny seaside township in the North Island. Renee is the handler’s fifth guide dog.
The team can be seen negotiating the quiet residential and busy semi-business areas with ease and frequenting many well established and varied destinations along the way. The handler has been most impressed with how Renee behaves in the home and her impeccable social behaviour when out.
Without fail, after every walk, the harness comes off and the team share cuddles and kisses before Renee has some play time with the handler’s retired Guide who thinks this new play mate is the best thing ever.
Puppy Raiser: Helen Green