Trundle Public School’s latest recruit
Abbotsleigh has a long and proud collaboration with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. Guide Dogs need to be well socialised and unfazed by all manner of things that everyday life can throw at them, and what better place to lay these foundations than in a busy boarding school surrounded by dozens of girls!
Ajax came to Abbotsleigh in June 2017. Our 10th prospective Guide Dog, he lived with the Year 9 and 10 boarders in McCredie House, and with the family of Mrs Allysia Heness-Pugh, Deputy Head of Boarding, Administration.
An experienced Guide Dog puppy raiser, Allysia is chiefly responsible for ensuring that all the puppies are introduced to a wide array of sights, sounds and experiences. She also takes them to puppy preschool and teaches them basic commands. The most important responsibility of a puppy raiser is socialisation to build a dog’s confidence. The boarders’ everyday interactions with Ajax through play, walks (and cuddles) have been priceless.
Popular with the girls for his gentle nature, Ajax was always happy to sit with anyone who felt homesick and brought a feeling of home to the girls in the boarding house. Oh, and apparently he also loved eating fruit from the fruit bowl… on the table…
Most of our Guide Dog puppies have gone on to change someone’s life as a fully trained Guide Dog, but Ajax didn’t quite make the cut. However, his placid temperament has made him a perfect fit as a Pets As Therapy (PAT) Dog. Recently, Ajax started his new job working as a Therapy Dog in Trundle Public School, west of Parkes, where he lives with the Principal. You can read all about this new and exciting chapter in Ajax’s life here.
Carefully selected PAT Dogs provide comfort, companionship and emotional support to those who experience behavioural, emotional and mental health conditions, physical disabilities, or isolation caused by age or illness. PAT is a free community service which has been offered by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT for more than 30 years.