Digging new ground for healthier Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs Sod Turning Large

Watch footage from the official sod turning

Guide Dogs Queensland turned the first sod on a new veterinary clinic at its Bald Hills Breeding and Training Centre on Friday 5 April 2019, thanks to a $230,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Guide Dog breeding is set to increase by 70 percent over the next couple of years to meet the growing demand for working Guide Dogs and having a dedicated onsite clinic will cut expenses by more than half. Currently external vet bills cost the charity almost $220,000 each year.

Guide Dogs Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michael Kightley said the savings would make it possible for Guide Dogs Queensland to train an additional 24 dogs over the next five years.

“There are currently more than 30 people on the wait list for a Guide Dog,” Mr Kightley said.

“The new clinic will help us meet this growing demand while providing a full-service facility with comprehensive healthcare for Guide Dogs from the day they’re born and through their working life.

“The grant we received from Hand Heart Pocket is making a significant difference to our organisation and helping us improve the lives of more people with low or no vision. We are thrilled that work will soon start on the clinic and eagerly await its opening at the end of the year.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the grant would help Guide Dogs Queensland extend its service, providing invaluable resources and guiding companions for people with vision impairments.

“We look forward to watching the veterinary clinic take shape over the coming months so that working Guide Dogs and puppies-in-training will have better access to on-site healthcare,” Mr Mark said.

“Hand Heart Pocket and Masonic Lodges have been supporting Guide Dogs Queensland for some time. We are proud to grow this successful partnership and extend our grassroots contribution to a Significant Grant.

“It is an excellent example of the charity grant funding Hand Heart Pocket provides to assist existing charities and help them make a bigger impact in the community.”

Photo: Members of United Tradesmen’s and Redcliffe First Settlement Lodges joined Hand Heart Pocket and Guide Dogs Queensland at the sod turning event.

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