MySchool funds help train puppies into working dogs that help differently-abled people. Meet Elbe, a new Guide Dog graduate, who’s off to University with his new owner and companion.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision” Helen Keller
SA Guide Dogs Association for the Blind aims to provide a working dog to people who are visually impaired or have physical disabilities to give them Independence, Mobility and Companionship. As a result, Guide and Service Dog owners make a difference in their communities and contribute positively to South Africa’s economy by being employable citizens.
The cost of one dog is R80 000 – which includes breeding, training of the dog and owner and a follow up service until the working dog retires. The new owner pays R5 for their dog, R100 for two weeks board and lodging at the centre and R100 for equipment. With no government assistance, all funds are raised through donations and all MySchool funds are used to help transform puppies into Guide or Service dogs to help visually impaired and differently-abled people. One such puppy is Elbe, a recent Cape Town graduate.
For the first year of his life Elbe lived with his Puppy Raisers in a flat in Sea Point. Puppy Raisers are very special people who open their hearts and homes to lively, mischievous puppies to help groom them to fulfil their role as fully fledged working dogs. For Elbe, his Puppy Raisers introduced him to people, children and other animals, while house training and teaching him how to behave in shops and restaurants and how not to sleep on the furniture!
Elbe Learner Guide Dog
When Elbe was one year old, he started school at the training centre in Belvedere Road, Claremont. Trained to work as a guide dog by Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Cheryl Robertson, Elbe passed with flying colours. It’s at this stage that new Guide Dog Owners are invited to start training with their new companions. Over two weeks, dogs and owners are given time to bond in a safe environment.
Here, Elbe was introduced to his new owner Johandre den Haan, a young man about to attend university. They bonded immediately and after training during the day, Johandre would serenade Elbe with this guitar in the evening. After two weeks in Cape Town, Elbe moved with Johandre to his home in Worcester to complete his aftercare – where Elbe met family, colleagues and family pets to settle well into his new daily routines. Elbe and Johandre’s next move is to the University of the Free State, where we look forward to seeing Elbe leading Johandre to the podium on graduation day.
Elbe Guide Dog with owner Johandre