Guide Dog Floyd is a black Labrador Retriever / Golden Retriever cross who graduated in December 2021.

Guide Dog Floyd wearing a harness
Floyd wearing a harness qualification picture

Invercargill has a new Guide Dog team in town. This 70-year-old has had 4 previous Guide Dogs, making this one his 5th. He started his Guide Dog journey in the UK where he is originally from and worked as an international truck driver for almost 20 years. He relocated to the southern part of New Zealand about 2 decades ago and although he has been in New Zealand for quite a while, he has not lost his accent! Up at the crack of dawn, you may see this new dynamic duo heading into town, walking to the BLVNZ office, having a free run in one of the many available beautiful locations in this part of the country or simply having a coffee in their local watering hole. His new furry friend, a 23-month-old male Golden Retriever X Labrador Retriever, walked into his new home as if he had been there forever. He immediately made himself at home by selecting different toys from the multiple toy baskets he has to choose from, basking in the sunshine or sniffing around in the garden. Within one day this GD was taught (or maybe he secretly knew already) to give a kiss and a cuddle to his GD Handler on command. The relaxed nature of both human and dog has paved the way for a beautiful start together and I know they will have a long and successful life alongside one another.

Puppy Raiser: Robyn Ryff

Guide Dog Holly is a black Labrador Retriever who graduated in December 2021.

Guide Dog Holly wearing her qualification harness
Holly wearing a harness qualification picture

Holly wearing a harness qualification pictureThis retired 65-year-old Invercargill woman was previously a school teacher for teenagers for a cumulative of 39 years. A member of BLVNZ for many years, she finally decided to take the plunge and apply for her first GD this year. She received (drumroll please…) a large 22-month-old female black Labrador Retriever. This big girl definitely does not have an issue throwing her weight around when wiggling her entire body and showing affection toward her new human, however, when she is working she knows her job and passes by other dogs, cats and kids (this is the hardest, being a kid lover!) with finesse and focus. If you venture to the southern part of the country, you may spot this new team playing bowls, going on leisurely walks in the forest, spending time at their holiday home in Riverton or walking throughout the streets of Invercargill. There will never be a dull moment in their lives and they will be a great addition to the GD world. Congratulations for a job well done!

Puppy Raisers: Carol and Scott Massie

Guide Dog Belle is a yellow Labrador Retriever who graduated in December 2021.

Guide Dog Belle wearing a qualification picture
Belle wearing a qualification harness picture

Guide Dog Belle wearing a harness qualification pictureThis 48-year-old first time Guide Dog Handler has taken on his new furry friend so seamlessly it looks like they have been together forever. A native to Southland, he was born in Mataura (just outside of Gore) and has lived in Invercargill for about 21 years. He works for the Ministry of Social Development supporting people with disabilities to gain employment and at his side is his new companion, Belle, a sweet and gentle female yellow Labrador Retriever. Belle is like an old soul, calm and easy going, however, if you see her at home it is a different story all together because she tears around the yard playing with her toys without any inhibitions. This gentleman is a fitness nut hitting the gym at least twice a week to unwind and additionally supplements his active lifestyle by participating in cricket and goal ball. On occasion he enjoys craft beers (chocolate and malt stouts are on top of the list!). When not in Invercargill he may be at his holiday home in the Catlins where his crib is surrounded by the sea and forest. Congratulations to this new team entering into the Guide Dog world!

Puppy Raisers: Jill and Steve Louden

Guide Dog Layla is a black Labrador Retriever who graduated in January 2022.

Guide Dog Layla wearing a qualification harness
Layla wearing a harness qualification picture

Layla wearing a harness qualification pictureThis experienced Guide Dog Handler has been living on the Kapiti Coast in Paraparaumu Beach for almost 10 years, previous to this she had lived most of her life in Hamilton. In her spare time, she does spinning and weaving ie; fibre craft making fabric for clothes, hand knitted products, blankets, place mats, and she even has a wooden spinning wheels in her living room!  She comes as a two for one package, as she has been married to her lovely bicycle enthusiast husband for 34 years. She has been fortunate to receive her 6th Guide Dog, Layla, a spunky female black Labrador Retriever with a big personality. Layla tells us that she has won the lottery on many levels. She not only lives on the Kapiti Coast, but her new home comes complete with a huge yard and a doggy swimming pool! She has demonstrated exceptional behaviour in social settings, often crossing her paws like a perfect little princess when laying down. She has taken an interest in looking at all of the other animals in her new environment and sometimes has to work hard to ignore them. Her favourite reward in the world seems to be anything soft and fuzzy, whether that is a toy, bed or a blanket. Congratulations to this new team!

Puppy Raiser: Pippi Rai

Guide Dog Ike is a black Labrador Retriever who graduated in February 2022

Guide Dog Ike wearing a qualification harness
Ike wearing a qualification harness picture

Ike wearing a harness qualification pictureIke could best be described as a power walker and can be seen every day with his handler completing his guide work at a very rapid clip to various destinations in the area he lives. Ike is a very conscientious boy and takes his job very seriously and works to a very high standard. However., he also gets plenty of opportunity to rest and relax during the day in a physio’s studio where he gets to meet and greet all sorts of people coming in for treatment. At home he is trying to be friends with the pet cat but that is still a work in progress. He is a very lovable affection boy who has settled in very well to his new life.

Puppy raiser: Lois Buckrell

Guide Dog Evie is a black Labrador Retriever who graduated in February 2022

Guide Dog Evie wearing a qualification harness
Evie wearing a qualification harness picture

Evie wearing her harness qualification pictureEvie has settled in wonderfully to her new home where she has become an integral part of the extended family. Alongside her handler and his wife, she has a two- and a five-year-old for company. They have been very excited about having a new friend and don’t even mind sharing their toys. Evie has taken up the challenge of guide dog work in a new city with flying colours. She is a regular in the Dunedin city and frequents the local theatre company where she likes to sleep after walking up a very steep hill! Evie is very connected and happy with her new handler and is making a very positive difference to his life.

Puppy raiser: Juliet Jack