PUPPY LOVE: Guide Dogs Australia national manager Sacha Koltun with a guide dog in training.
PUPPY LOVE: Guide Dogs Australia national manager Sacha Koltun with a guide dog in training. Contributed

Ipswich's guide dog puppy love smashes donation record

IPSWICH is home to one of Queensland's "top dogs", with shoppers donating more money to Guide Dogs Australia's Collection Dog at Coles than most locations in the state.

Shoppers and team members at Coles in Ipswich have contributed more than $1800 towards a recordbreaking $1.26 million funds raised for Guide Dogs Australia, which is the most ever raised in a 12-month period through in store Collection Dogs and the sale of Guide Dogs eco bags.

Guide Dogs Australia national manager Sacha Koltun said she was grateful for the ongoing support from the local community which was helping the charity to breed, raise and train Guide Dogs for people who are blind or have low vision.

"We are blown away by the generosity of Coles' customers and team members, who have helped reach this remarkable milestone," she said. "More than 70% of the total was raised through spare change dropped into the Collection Dogs at Coles, which proves no matter how large or small the donation is, every dollar counts in our mission to help more people in need.

"Thanks to their donations, we will be able to train 25 guide dogs to give independence and confidence."

It is estimated that close to one million Australians will be living with complete or partial vision loss by 2020. With the support from Coles customers and team members, Guide Dogs Australia has helped many people including Kathryn, who is 24 years old and suffers from an eye condition called Nystagmus which causes involuntary motions of the eyes.

Kathryn's condition worsens with heightened emotions or stress and as a result she experiences loss of vision. At 21, Kathryn received her Guide Dog, Sammie.

"I don't know where I would be today without Sammie. She has brought so much joy into my life and has helped me become more active and live independently, and Sammie has also saved my life by preventing a car accident," she said.

"I'm so thankful for the work of Guide Dogs Australia in providing support and training for Guide Dogs."

Coles State General Manager Jerry Farrell said since the partnership began in 1982, Coles had raised more than $8.6 million for Guide Dogs Australia to help breed, raise and train life-changing Guide Dogs across Australia. "I am so thankful to our customers and our store teams who continue to donate generously and help make a real difference to people in need," he said.

We know that Guide Dogs play a really important role in supporting the quality of life of people with blindness or low vision."



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