Friday, December 10, 2010

New Cairns Guide dog on duty

Guide dogs are more than a friend and a pet to visually impaired people, they are an extra sense.  The newest guide dog in Cairns, Charlie has been putting in some memorable public appearances to promote Guide Dogs Queensland.  Cairns Vet Clinic supports guide dog owners by providing free veterinary services to ensure people have full access to this essential visual aid.

HE'S jet black, easy going and the new face of Guide Dogs Queensland in the Far North.

Charlie, a golden retriever Labrador cross, arrived in Cairns this week to take up duties on the public relations front while completing his training as a guide dog.

And he’s in for a busy first week with appearances at Stockland Cairns Shopping Centre tomorrow and Friday and a touch of magic at the Xtreme Illusions Family Christmas Benefit Show at the Reef Hotel Casino on Saturday.

Charlie has taken up residence with Guide Dogs Queensland volunteer Roslyn Boag and her husband Rick.

GDQ community relations and rehoming co-ordinator Nicci Cahill said the early morning flight from Brisbane to Cairns had left her a little ragged, but Charlie took it all in his stride.

"I collected him from his boarding family at quarter to five in the morning and in typical Charlie fashion, he slept at my feet in a taxi on his way to the airport.

"We were escorted onto the plane first, he got the window seat and promptly went to sleep before anybody else boarded the aeroplane and I woke Charlie to get off the aeroplane after we’d landed in Cairns," Ms Cahill said.

She said Charlie – who turns two in January – had not yet progressed into harness "due to the fact he does have some cat and dog distraction".

"So he is doing a little bit of extra training up here, aiding our public relations program and becoming the face of Guide Dogs Queensland while we’re working on that issue."


SUPPORTING ROLE: Roslyn Boag is providing a home in Cairns for guide dog in training Charlie. Picture: MICHAEL WATT

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