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Fun before important role

DENISE PIPER
Last updated 05:00 23/10/2012
Telfer family
DENISE PIPER

GUIDING LIGHT: Guide dog-in-waiting Vic has settled into life with the Telfer family including Neve, 7, mum Bex, Cameron, 6, and Maya, 4.

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Whangarei Leader

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Looking after a puppy can sometimes have its moments, such as when the dog decides to chew the skirting board or dig holes in the back yard.

But the Telfer family has no regrets about looking after puppy and guide-dog-to-be Vic.

The Telfers are one of three families in Whangarei who are guide dog walkers, looking after the puppies until they are 12 to 18 months old and ready to be trained.

The guide dog walkers need to get the puppies used to daily life and take them almost everywhere.

Bex says Vic is so good with children after settling in with Neve, aged 7, Cameron, 6, and Maya, 4.

He has been almost everywhere, including Bex's parents' farm and the beach.

"He even went to the hospital because my aunty had a double knee replacement a couple of weeks ago. The staff there were fantastic."

Bex says 5-month-old Vic is a well-behaved puppy and she hopes he will eventually go to a sight-impaired person with a family.

The whole family has no regrets taking on the dog, even though they will have to give him back.

"He's good company for me and the kids being a solo mum," she says.

"We have no regrets whatsoever. He's such a placid thing and so good with the kids.

"I think we will do it again."

Neve says she understands Vic will go on to a higher purpose.

"He's going to a person who can't see so he can help them walk and stuff," she says.

Until now no puppies have been placed in Whangarei with most based around Guide Dog Services in Manurewa.

But the walkers have expanded north after a long-term puppy walking family moved to Whangarei and convinced the service that puppy walking can be done here.

Bex believes having some puppies in Whangarei is good promotion for the service.

She has taken Vic to a Bayley's real estate auction as the company is a major sponsor of the service and the Maunu Ladies Gardening Club which sponsors a puppy.

They will also be taking part in the Blind Week appeal for the Royal Foundation of the Blind on October 23 to 29, even though the Guide Dog Services appeal is separate.

Go to blindweek.org.nz or phone 0800 DONATE to support the appeal.

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- Whangarei Leader

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