Dog donation 'hugely appreciated'

19:30, Oct 31 2012
Guide dogs
PUPPY LOVE: Guide dog instructor Jessica Nelipovich,with guide dogs Watson, left, Addy, Geffrey and the new vehicle funded by the Hilda Bottomley Trust.

A generous donation has made it easier for Jessica Nelipovich to train her canine charges.

Ms Nelipovich is the guide dog mobility instructor for the upper South Island region for the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind.

A donation from the Hilda Bottomley Charitable Trust has provided the foundation with money to buy a new car for the guide dog training.

The trust was set up by the late Hilda Bottomley in 2003 with the purpose of assisting the RNZFB and the Nelson Region Hospice Trust. This year the two organisations received a combined total of $62,800, split evenly between them.

Brett Johnson, spokesman for the Guardian Trust which manages the trust, was at Nelson's Whakatu Square yesterday to hand over the keys to the car.

"It's nice to be able to fulfil Hilda's wishes [by supporting these charities]."


Ms Nelipovich is responsible for training the guide dogs in the region, currently that includes three puppies in Blenheim, a 15-month-old undergoing basic training and 13 dog handlers.

The new car was fantastic and would help her get around to see all the dogs and handlers, she said.

"I think I have the best job in the world, for me.

"I think of my job as changing the world. I'm not solving world peace, or curing famine, but the individual whose life you change [when they get the dog], that's fantastic, the best part of the job."

Joy McClintock, community fundraiser for the foundation, said the donation was hugely appreciated.

"There's no government funding for the puppies, they are sponsored by the public."

She said they estimated each puppy was worth about $30,000 once it had gone through all its training phases.

Hamish Kennedy, project manager at the Nelson Hospice, said they were very appreciative of the donation.

"We've upgraded the equipment in the in-patient unit. It had to be done and it's fantastic that we were able to get it done in one move."