Best mate Levi has eyes for Graeme

GRAEME Raines lost all sight 10 years ago and now relies on his best mate Levi to get him around.

The Bundaberg man, who suffered from macular degeneration, said life just wouldn’t be the same without the help from his guide dog.

“He helps me get around and knows where to go. I just have to give him a few commands and he is on his merry way,” he said.

“I put my full trust into Levi.

“He is my best friend. I don’t know what I would do without him.”

Mr Raines and Levi were at the Guide Dogs Queensland Mobility and Technology Expo yesterday as part of the support team giving advice to those who have low or no vision.

Guide Dog mobility instructor Katie Kerr was also at the event to talk about the special bond formed between a guide dog and its human.

“Guide dogs are not only a companion but a working animal. They help two-fold in that they provide companionship and make it more fun to travel because they really bridge a gap in communication,” she said.

“Trust and building a bond is the number one priority between clients and their guide dog.”

Barry the guide dog-in-training was a special guest at the event and provided a unique opportunity to attendees to experience his support.

For information phone Guide Dogs Queensland on 1800 810 122 or visit www.guidedogsqld.com.au.

My experience with a guide dog

NewsMail journalist Ashley Clark went along to the expo and got to experience first-hand what it was like to be vision impaired and helped by a guide dog.

BY THE time the blindfold was on, I could feel my neck stiffen as the background noises of the world around me were suddenly loud and reverberated through my brain.

My first few moments without sight were nerve-wracking but as I felt the leathery touch of the lead and handle, my mind was put at ease.

I was now in the hands of Barry, the 6-year-old guide dog.

Motioning him forward with a hand movement, Barry lead me with confidence and ease.

We walked down the path and my trust began to grow at the same time that he began feeling comfortable with my staggered movements.

Barry knew what he was doing and I was grateful for his protection.



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