A Western Australian man has taken delivery of a new seeing eye dog – his fifth in the past 28 years.
Robert Smith was matched to Waldo, a black Labrador, in late January.
Waldo was sourced for Robert from Victoria and was trained by Melbourne-based trainee instructor Brooke Cornell, Seeing Eye Dogs WA senior instructor Greer Gerson says.
“Waldo was then first dog that she took through the advanced harness and training development and, of course, was thrilled that he was successful and made it through the whole program, because that’s quite a big achievement for both of them,” Greer says.
Waldo and Robert were matched based on considerations including Robert’s walking pace, his level of activity, his living environment and destinations he regularly visits.
Greer and Brooke then took two weeks to take Waldo and Robert through client training at Robert’s home in Bridgetown, about three hours south of Perth.
“It was very successful, very fluid, and it’s been really positive all round. Very happy faces, and the dog has settled very quickly,” Greer says.
“And I’m so pleased for Brooke, because you never forget your first client and first dog that you matched together. She’s off to a very good start.”