'Giant' call to seek help early

IT was hard to miss the 4.3 metre tall fibreglass guide dog parked at Centennial Park in Cooma on Thursday.

The giant guide dog named 'Gulliver' was in town to promote the services of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT for residents experiencing problems getting around due to failing eyesight.

Karyn Willins, an Orientation and Mobility Instructor with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT who covers the Monaro region, encouraged people to seek the organisation's help early.

"Losing your vision to a condition like glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration can seem debilitating but our services can enhance your independence so you can continue to get out and about," Ms Willins said.

"And you don't have to be totally blind to get help. In fact, the earlier you see us the better.

"We come to you and work with you to develop strategies and skills such as safe road-crossing techniques and use of public transport to enable you to move around your environment and community safely."

Ms Willins said Guide Dogs NSW/ACT offered a range of services in addition to its guide dogs.

"Most of our work involves training people in how to move around safely, which could involve learning how to use aids like white canes, talking GPS technology or guide dogs," she said.

"We believe vision loss shouldn't be a barrier to leading a fulfilling life and understand that independence and mobility give people the freedom to enjoy life, embrace new experiences and reach their goals."

For anyone wanting information, Ms Willins encouraged residents to call the Canberra office of Guide Dogs 62852988.

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