Applying for a Seeing Eye Dog
While providing advice at the Robina Community Legal Centre, we had an enquiry about how a blind person can get a seeing eye dog.
Australian citizens who are legally blind can apply for a dog through the SEDA (Seeing Eye Dogs Australia) website, by referral, or by contacting SEDA or Vision Australia directly. They are the only National provider of dog guides in Australia with clients in every state and territory. There is no payment required for the dog.
Seeing Eye Dogs staff is also available to provide ongoing support for clients.
Applicants outside the legal blindness criteria may be considered on an individual basis.
Following an application form being submitted with a medical form filled out by a registered medical practitioner, and a current eye report, their qualified Instructors will assess each applicant on their suitability for training with a Seeing Eye Dog.
This assessment will consider and record factors such as:-
- Current mobility
- Health status and exercise tolerance
- Ability to house and care for a dog independently
- Be able to demonstrate need and adequate work for a dog
Once the application has been deemed suitable SEDA Instructors will conduct an assessment.
After the assessment, each application is considered carefully before acceptance on to the waiting list. Priority is given to clients applying for a replacement dog guide.
Waiting periods for a dog vary, mostly due to the availability of a suitable match for each individual client. Finding the right dog can take time.
Applicants also should be aware that the cost of maintaining a Seeing Eye Dog can be around $35 per week. The training process is around 2-3 weeks of residential training, and 1-2 weeks in the client’s home area. All travel and accommodation costs are covered by SEDA.
On graduation SEDA will supply the client with the basic equipment— lead, harness and dog bed.
Many vets offer discounts for Seeing Eye Dogs but this is entirely between the client and their vet. SEDA expects the client to take their dog to your vet every six months and then send the report to SEDA. If major health problems occurs, SEDA may consider assistance with the cost of vet bills — this is considered case-by-case .
Interested people can contact SEDA for an informal interview before proceeding with the application process by calling 1800 037 773 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bell Legal Group’s solicitors are community minded people who actively participate in the Gold Coast Community – including by volunteering at the Robina Community Legal Centre.
If you need assistance with a legal matter please get in touch by calling us on 07 5597 3366 or by completing the ‘Contact Us’ form below.
Please note: This article was written by Margaret Miller, partner of Bell Legal Group. It is for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.