Guide Dogs visit a real eye-opener
Published on 05 September, 2011
CQUniversity Sydney recently hosted a young speaker from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. Sarah Hirst, accompanied by her guide dog Ally, shared her experiences of being vision-impaired and told how her life has been enhanced by having Ally by her side every day.
Sarah Hirst (in purple) is introduced to the campus audience
Story by Emily Langston-Stapp
Over 70 students and staff attended, which was very encouraging. It was interesting for our students to listen to Sarah as she has recently completed an Arts Degree at Macquarie University and a Public Relations course at TAFE.
The presentation gave audience members a moment to reflect on the challenges Sarah faced as a student with impaired vision. This also gave the students the opportunity to extend their understanding of an aspect of their new community.
Ally is a Labrador who has been fully trained to be a working guide dog. The two years of training cost almost $30,000.
Sarah explained how Ally has given her so much mobility and independence. However, once Sarah took Ally's harness off, she was a normal fun-loving dog; wagging her tail and licking everybody affectionately.
CQUniversity Sydney is hoping to raise enough money to buy a guide dog puppy, at a cost of around $850, through donations and purchases of small toy guide dogs. Furthermore, the campus is hosting a ‘Pizza for a Paw' lunch to raise the remaining funds.
More than 70 people attended the presentation on campus
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT receives no government funding, relying entirely on this type of community support to provide its free services to people who need them.
Thanks to Sarah and Ally for being such an inspiration and to Lillian Adnan, Guide Dog's Partnerships Co-ordinator, for help with organising the event.