The Petbarn Foundation has set itself the lofty goal of raising over $1 million in its 10th annual Seeing Eye Dogs Appeal.

As a long-term partner of Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs, Petbarn Foundation has raised over $6.169 million for the organisation since 2014, helping train 125 puppies for Australians who are blind or have low vision.

Janelle Bloxsom, Manager of Petbarn Foundation, said they are so grateful for the support from the community for the Petbarn Foundation Seeing Eye Dogs Appeal over the years.

“We are aiming to again reach the $1 million milestone with 100 per cent of donations going directly to Vision Australia to help train-up Seeing Eye Dogs puppies and make an invaluable difference to the lives of another 20 Australians.”

Vision Australia estimates there are 453,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision, with this number expected to increase to 564,000 by 2030. Costing over $50,000 and up to two years to train a Seeing Eye Dog, donations help greatly.

Ron Hooton, CEO of Vision Australia, said by donating, you’re not only helping them train and provide Seeing Eye Dogs to Aussies who need them, but you’re giving someone the gift of greater independence.

“On behalf of the team at Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs, I want to say a big thank you to all the Petbarn customers who have supported us over the past 10 years, we really appreciate it.

“We’re looking forward to the next 10 years continuing to help Australians who are blind or have low vision by training up as many Seeing Eye Dogs as possible.”

Rolf Geerlings, a recipient of Seeing Eye Dogs, said his first dog Echo changed his life and the pair were inseparable until Echo retired, but remained with Geerlings, and he met his current Seeing Eye Dog, Stella.

“When you have low vision, you can be surrounded by a crowd and still feel utterly alone. But all it takes is a little lick from my faithful companion to reassure me that everything will be ok and that I’ll never be alone.

“These wonderful dogs—they transform your life. Without the generous help from Petbarn, we couldn’t lead a normal life.”

Australians are encouraged to ‘Train-up a pup’ by donating at Petbarn stores or online to support the training and expertise needed to turn puppies in to Seeing Eye Dogs.

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