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

Guide Dog Awhi is a black Labrador Retriever who graduated in August 2021.

Awhi wearing a harness (qualification picture)]
Awhi wearing a harness (qualification picture)

Awhi is her handler’s first guide dog. Her handler lives in the Waikato region and regularly travels with her new dog in to the city. Awhi’s handler was impressed by Awhi’s destination memory and her keenness to locate objectives when requested, e.g. the counter, the crossing buzzer or the seat. Awhi’s handler loves how well Awhi settles at her workplace, but also enjoys, Awhi’s affectionate, playful and cheeky side.

Puppy Raisers: Phil and Karin Higham

Guide Dog Ankie is a black Labrador Retriever who graduated in September 2021.

Ankie wearing a harness (qualification picture)
Ankie wearing a harness (qualification picture)

There is a new Guide Dog team in the Wairarapa region! You might just get lucky enough to see a man out and about with his new partner in crime, a female Black Labrador. As this is his first Guide Dog, he might not know that the process he went through to get trained was a bit unusual (and that is putting it mildly!). Their training program began in Dunedin, where he used to live and frequents a few times per year. Seven days into the training program the entire country went into lockdown, at which point he and his dog got on a flight to get back to the North Island to avoid being stuck in Dunedin. Like most of the country, they were stuck at home on lockdown for weeks. Their training couldn’t be completed until the country was at Level 2, so during the weeks of being at home their training consisted of daily phone calls and homework assignments until we could be reunited face to face. Now that their training is completed they can be seen pounding the pavement in their home area. What this new GD Handler may not tell you that he rides tandem bicycles for exercise, typically 10 km per day, 5 times per week. As of late that number has been reduced to zero due to recent COVID times although I predict that very soon this hobby will resume in full force. I would like to personally congratulate this team for being one of the most unusual training programs ever and taking it all in stride!

Puppy Raiser: Jane Coughlan

Guide Dog Gabe is a black Labrador Retriever who graduated in October 2021.

Gabe wearing a harness (qualification picture)
Gabe wearing a harness (qualification picture)

Gabe is now resident in a busy Auckland suburb and loves every minute of being out walking with his new handler. He is this retired gentleman’s first Guide Dog and after waiting nearly 4 years it is a big change to being out with his white cane. Church is a major part of this teams’ life and they can be seen walking 4 to 5 times a week to the service and locating the same seat in the front row each time. After their working time, Gabe loves nothing more than games in the big back yard and plenty of time lying in the sun. He has different beds dotted around the house for him to relax on but every time the harness and lead are picked up he is wagging his tail and nudging his handler to say he is ready to go!

Puppy Raiser: Silvano Nieto