Gulliver, the world’s biggest Guide Dog delighted children at Wolumla Public School on Tuesday, February 23, .
The 4.3 metre tall fibreglass Labrador traveled to the school with a team from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT where they taught the children a valuable lesson on both guide dog etiquette and what they can do to help a vision impaired person.
The Wolumla kids filed into the school library where they were showed how vision impaired people use a long cane. A few lucky pupils were even given the chance to put on a blindfold and try them out.
Once they were finished with the long cane the kids then got a chance to see a real guide dog in action.
Elaine Heskett, who is vision impaired and uses a Guide Dog, spoke to the children about how her guide dog has affected her life.
The Mossy Point resident describes her Guide Dog, Darcy, as her “eyes and constant companion”.
“Darcy allows me to walk upright and use the little sight I have to orientate myself in my environment instead of only seeing a bit of the ground immediately in front of my cane,” she said.
“When he is in harness he is constantly watching the way ahead and also making allowance for any obstacles such as tree branches at head height. He helps me walk up and down steps, find doorways and refuses to cross a road or driveway even if I have told him to go if there is any danger from traffic.”
Mrs Heskett said Darcy had given her the freedom to do the things she enjoys.
“He has made it possible for my husband and family to be less anxious about me when I am out on my own.”
The children were delighted to learn about guide dogs but also to learn about what to do when they see a person who is vision impaired.
Ms Heskett spoke to the kids about Guide Dog etiquette and told them not to pat or distract a Guide Dog when it is in harness.
“Having Gulliver and the team at the school has been a wonderful experience for the Children,” Wolumla Public School principal Jaqueline Crockford said.
“It has created awareness of the needs of vision impaired people and has taught the kids how to behave when they see someone who is visually impaired.”
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