Tali (aka Natalia) started with us at Custom Eyecare in 2021, as part of the Guide Dogs Australia – Puppy Training Program.
A Guide Dog helps provide the companionship and independence that is often needed when individuals are diagnosed with low vision or blindness. The intensive training program provided by Guide Dogs Australia aims to transform a playful puppy into a highly skilled Guide Dog. The training regime requires lots of time, funding and most importantly, lots of patience!
The team at Custom Eyecare were lucky enough to follow Tali through her year of training. We very quickly learned of her calm, gentle and friendly nature; all of the traits perfect for a support dog. During her official assessment, it was decided that she was best suited to the Therapy Team at Guide Dogs.
After she was classified as a Therapy Dog, we were given the opportunity to employ Tali at Custom Eyecare, as we had the perfect role for her within our practice.
Tali loves to sit next to you when you are having an eye exam, collecting your glasses or even just popping in to say hello. Tali only works part time, so if you are someone that would benefit from having Tali with you for an eye test, please talk to one of our staff members to book an appointment and they will let you know when Tali is working next.
What is a Therapy Dog?
“The Therapy Dog Program is a community focused service that Guide Dogs NSW/ACT have offered for over 30 years. A Therapy Dog provides comfort, companionship and emotional support to individuals, families, and people visiting or living in facilities.” (Guide Dogs NSW/ACT)
Before you meet Tali and see the work she does for us at Custom Eyecare, you might be wondering why one may need a Therapy Dog for an eye test?
At Custom Eyecare, we do a lot more than just an average eye test. We provide a full comprehensive eye exam often involving behavioural/paediatric testing, contact lenses fitting, intraocular pressure measurements, OCT scans and diabetic retinal imaging.
Tali will happily sit with adults and children who would appreciate extra comfort during their eye examination. For families with young children, Tali can also be a convenient distraction and a cuddly friend to help keep our patients as comfortable as possible.
What if myself or a family member has a phobia or allergy to dogs?
This is not a problem at all! Our practice is deep cleaned after Tali has been working, keeping our space free of allergens.
Tali needs lots of rest throughout a workday, so if you are unsure or uncomfortable around dogs, we will give Tali some time in her bed away from all patients. Just let a staff member know and we will take her off duty 🙂
We have Tali’s whole story on our Facebook. It starts when she was a teeny puppy and learning to follow commands, right through to her navigation training in busy shopping centres. Follow along for our updates. https://www.facebook.com/CustomEyecareNewcastle/
Gift a Donation to Guide Dogs
Guide Dogs Australia currently rely heavily on community funding and volunteer contribution. If you would like to gift a donation to Guide Dogs please follow this link, https://nsw.guidedogs.com.au/get-involved/donations/