Warm congratulations to our newest graduated guide dog teams and a big thank you to everyone involved in their success.

Guide Dog Parker is a yellow Labrador Retriever / Golden Retriever cross who graduated in March 2022.

Yellow Labrador Retriever named Parker wearing a harness
Parker wearing a harness (qualification picture)

Look out Whitby because there is a new four-footed celebrity in town! This beautiful 19-month-old male Golden Retriever X Labrador Retriever, Parker, seems as if he has been here forever. In his new home you may find him lounging on the deck in the sun, patrolling the back yard, looking out the windows, playing with his toys or just hanging out while getting groomed. He has settled into his new life effortlessly partly due to his gentle, calm demeanor, and also because his new human loves him so much.

Parker quickly won over his new 65-year-old Guide Dog Handler who has lived in this suburb outside of Wellington for nearly 40 years. In addition to previously being a structural/general engineer for 25 years, he also spent about 7 years making things out of sheet metal, competed in 4 Wheel Drive off road competitions and participated in the occasional hunting trip. This man didn’t know what to expect when receiving his second guide dog, especially because Parker is a totally different personality and colour than his first one, but this didn’t stop them from bonding quickly.

On any given day you may spot this team strolling along the lake walking past the abundance of ducks and birds or walking through the park on the forest pathways navigating through all sorts of people, kids, dogs and bicyclists. Nothing is too much of a challenge for these two (well, maybe just one challenge, which is dealing with people in the community who always want to say hi and ask about the new and the old dog!).

I know this dynamic duo will become more and more solid together with each day and I would like to be the first to say congratulations to both dog and human for all of the hard work and efforts throughout training.

Puppy Raiser: Debbie Hardy

Guide Dog Joanie is a yellow Labrador who graduated in March 2022.

Yellow Labrador Joanie wearing a harness
Joanie wearing a harness

Newsflash, there is a buzz near the Beehive these days…

Even with all of the high security at the New Zealand Defence Force where this 59-year-old Guide Dog Handler works as a Ministerial Writer, security is not strong enough to avoid seeing this new team in and around the building located close to the Beehive.

Introducing the one and only (drumroll please….) beautiful 24-month-old female yellow Labrador named Joanie. Joanie is a motivated and playful type of girl up for the challenge of working in busy city environments while also being able to relax comfortably in the office, home or strolling through the Botanical Gardens (she is a multi-purpose /multi-tasking doggie!).

This Guide Dog Handler has lived in the windy city of Wellington for nearly 15 years and this is her second guide dog. Adjusting to this much younger and different coloured dog has been welcomed by her French partner of 30 years (a French trained Patissier Chef who she met while standing in line at a bakery in France!) but not so much by her 10-year-old cat who has opted to come and go only for feeding times. Joanie has adjusted quickly into her new role in this busy part of the country and is working her tail off every day. Congratulations to the newest team in the Windy City!

Puppy Raiser: Sara Mole

Guide Dog Izzy is a black Labrador who graduated in April 2022.

Black Labrador named Izzy wearing a harness
Izzy wearing a harness

Izzy has graduated and is working successfully in small town Taranaki. She is living happily with her new handler, her handler’s 5-year-old son and retired guide dog. It’s definitely a busy house. Izzy is becoming a fixture at the local primary school where one of her responsibilities will be working through the school campus and crowds of children to get to the new entrants classroom each weekday. She takes her work very seriously fortunately, as she often has the added distraction of a 5 year old zooming around her on his scooter or bike. Izzy’s guide dog work is continuing to develop and she is performing her role very well. Home is definitely a happy place for her Izzy who is indulged with plenty of play and fun activities and likes to hang out in the backyard with her new friends.

Puppy Raiser: Aimee Hickman

Guide Dog Orion is a black Labrador who graduated in April 2022.

Black Labrador named Orion wearing a harness
Orion wearing a harness

It’s very pleasing to let everyone know that Stratford has a new guide dog team. As all the locals will attest to Orion has become a regular feature in the main street where he stars and often shows off to the tourists visiting the glockenspiel clock tower. Once Orion established his trust in his new handler, he has developed into a careful and considerate guide dog. This team has done very well and is definitely a true expression of teamwork with each party fulfilling their responsibilities well supported by the other. He has a very large section to himself to run around in and a canine friend next door who he has daily conversations with at the fence line.

Puppy Raiser: Wendy Campbell