Thank you from Guide Dogs Victoria

By: James MacLeod, Managing Director
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Established in 1984 to mark the company’s 50th anniversary, the Tobin Brothers Foundation makes annual grants to organisations and individuals whose work can be shown to have meaningful “community benefit”. 

Since its establishment, the Foundation has made over 330 separate monetary awards totalling over $650,000 to an array of worthy community groups. 

The Tobin Brothers Foundation recently received a beautiful email from one of our 2019 grant recipients - Guide Dogs VIC NSW/ACT, on behalf of Zoe Ariane Peck - Grants Manager:


I wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you to The Tobin Brothers Foundation for your donation earlier this year towards Guide Dog equipment, and to provide you with a story that demonstrates the impact of your donation. Please see below some words from Guide Dog Client, Kelly. There are currently 27 dogs waiting to be matched with Clients across Victoria, so this is just a small example of the amazing support you’ve been able to provide.


“I’m Kelly, a Marketing professional from Melbourne and I’ve been legally blind since birth. I moved to Melbourne from Adelaide in 2012 and quickly discovered that it’s a pretty crazy and quirky place at times. You can go into a building and come out an hour later and the footpath is being ‘renovated’. After a few more revelations living and working in Melbourne, I realised it was time for some Orientation and Mobility support from Guide Dogs Victoria. During that engagement, Guide Dog mobility was raised as something that might be a good option. I’d never really thought that having a Guide Dog would be right for me; I lived in a small apartment with no backyard, and didn’t really feel like I did much apart from going to work and back. 

After learning more, it was clear that having a Guide Dog could be a game changer for my commute through the bustling city, and to enable my growing desire to do more. I was matched with my first Guide Dog, Gallia, in 2013. And as they say, the rest is history. Having a busy career that involves a fair amount of travel, locally and intestate, meetings and conferences, my partnership with Gallia gave me the confidence to take a chance on things I’d never thought about or aimed for. Gallia was a natural extension of me and together we flourished, we got new job opportunities, chances to go to new places and enjoy new experiences.

So often, I hear bold statements that this amazing new piece of technology will replace Guide Dogs. But they all seem to miss the really fundamental benefits that having a living, breathing, and loving companion bring – something that no technology can replace for me.  Low vision and blindness can significantly isolate people, but I’ve found those barriers are often swept away with a Guide Dog by my side. When we get lost, I have a friend to share the situation with, to talk to, and who will unconditionally wait for me to sort myself out – as the saying goes: ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. After seven years of dedicated work, Gallia was recently retired and is now enjoying retired life back in one of her first homes with her puppy raisers, showing the new Guide Dog puppies the ropes.

I was recently matched with my new Guide Dog, Velvet (picture attached). It was a very different experience training with Velvet under the COVID-19 restrictions. Guide Dogs don’t really know about social distancing, but through some careful use of technology and an adaptable and flexible training program, Velvet and I are ready to ‘take on the world’ when restrictions ease.



I’ve enjoyed immeasurable benefits from having a Guide Dog and extend my sincerest appreciation to supporters of Guide Dogs Victoria who enable the purchase of equipment to ‘dress a dog’ for their career. A Guide Dog can’t do its job without a harness. Gallia’s harness lasted her an entire seven years of work – and will continue to be used in the training of the next generation of Guide Dogs. Your donations enable high quality equipment that last the lifetime of a working dog – I just wish I could find shoes that would last that long!”


Thank you for supporting Guide Dogs,

Zoe Ariane Peck | Grants Manager, Guide Dogs VIC NSW/ACT


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