A record-breaking $1.169 million has been raised by the Petbarn Foundation through its annual Seeing Eye Dogs Appeal.

The money, raised throughout July, will be used to fund the training and development of 23 Seeing Eye Dogs puppies to support Australians who are blind or have low vision through Petbarn’s long-term partners, Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs.

Graeme Craig, General Manager of Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs, said they are thrilled with funds raised in this year’s Appeal and grateful to Petbarn and its community for the support.

“The work of The Petbarn Foundation is vital to the work that we do and their extraordinary effort this year will help change the lives of clients who are blind or have low vision.

“Seeing Eye Dogs require specific training and a lot of expertise to be matched to the right person, and once matched, they increase a client’s independence, provide constant companionship, help overcome social isolation and contribute to an all-round better quality of life for clients.

“Through the exceptional amount of money raised this year, we can make a valuable difference to the lives of 23 people.”

It costs $50,000 and two years to train just one puppy and the current wait time for an Seeing Eye Dog is around six months. Vision Australia estimates there are 453,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision with this figure expected to increase to 560,000 by 2030, with more Seeing Eye Dogs urgently needed.

The Seeing Eye Dogs Appeal is in its ninth year and had the aim of raising $1 million, $250,000 more than the previous year.

Janelle Bloxsom, Petbarn Foundation Manager, said she wants to extend a huge thank you to everyone in the Petbarn community who donated.

“This massive effort provides funds to train more dogs for more people who are waiting for a Seeing Eye Dog. That is something all involved should be very proud of.”

Nadia Mattiazzo, a Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs client, said her Seeing Eye Dog is about to retire and as a result of this year’s Appeal, she’s been matched with a new pup, with training starting at the end of August.

“People may not realise this but Seeing Eye Dogs work for about eight years before they need to retire. Having more dogs trained will help reduce the wait for a Seeing Eye Dog and will make a massive impact on the lives of many, including mine.”

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