This week our Care Manager Tanvi brought her new dog to the office and we all fell in love with him! He’s an adorable adopted Labrador from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT named Phoenix.

Tanvi was thinking about getting a Labrador for some time and didn’t mind if she adopted or got a pup. She just so happened to have a meeting with a client who uses a guide dog for assistance. After mentioning her interest in Labradors, our client recommended looking into adoption through Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

Puppies in the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT program are fostered by a Puppy Raiser for training until they’re old enough to be put to work. After about 12 months, the puppies undergo some testing and screening to determine whether they will be suitable as assistance dogs. The unsuccessful dogs are put up for adoption, which is how Tanvi and Phoenix were connected.

“He was not 100% comfortable around other dogs. He would get distracted and excited” Tanvi says. “Guide dogs need to be very focused to be able to do their jobs effectively, so he didn’t pass the screening and was put up for adoption.”

Normally there is a long waitlist for adopting a guide dog or therapy dog. In fact, at the time writing this, the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT website states that it is not accepting new applications to join even the waitlist. Tanvi says she was lucky, “most of the other families on the waitlist already have a dog, which may have made Phoenix uncomfortable. Because we didn’t have one yet, we jumped to the top of the queue and barely had to wait at all.”

Tanvi says although he is adopted, Phoenix came at a cost. “He came almost completely trained; his health checks, vaccinations and microchipping had all been done, which is what you are paying for. But more importantly, the money the association receives from adoption goes straight back into the training of more guide dogs for those in need. I think of it as more of a donation than a cost.”

“It’s only early days but he has already made a few changes for the positive. Sometimes when you’re busy with work and in your personal life you can neglect looking after yourself. My husband and I have no choice but to get out of the house and walk him. Although he is still basically a puppy and is sometimes destructive around the house, having a dog is like ongoing therapy. Aside from the physical benefits, when you spend time with your dog you feel good, and you forget about the stresses of life.”

We admire Tanvi’s support for a good cause and loved meeting Phoenix in the office – we’ve dubbed him Afea’s mascot!

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