July 7 to the 14th is NAIDOC Week. It is a celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
To commemorate this, Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs invited three of its Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander clients to name one puppy each.
Over the course of this week, you'll get to learn about these three in this series of articles. Our final article is about Alan from Queensland.
Alan, 49, is one of three Indigenous clients with Vision Australia who will have the opportunity to name one of the recent puppies born to Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs in honour of NAIDOC Week 2019.
Alan was born with several eye conditions: Glaucoma, astigmatism and cataracts, all of which have combined to form significant vision loss for Alan as the years have gone by. He now has between one and two percent vision in his right eye, and only minimal light perception in his left.
As a client with Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs for several years now, Alan has had first-hand experience of the difference that these dogs can make in a person’s life.
“I’m currently matched with Xenon, who is my second dog through Seeing Eye Dogs. Both dogs have led to an enormous positive impact in my life; I’m more social, I can be more independent and it offers me the chance to stay connected to my local community in a way that I couldn’t when I was getting around with a white cane.”
Alan has decided that he is going to name his chosen puppy “Nara”. It is a name that has a special connection and meaning for him.
“I wanted to call it “Nara” as it is the Gabi-Gabi word for “hello”. I thought that would be a good name for a dog because I feel that having a Seeing Eye Dog has increased my confidence, and has enabled me to say “hello” to so many more people than I did before. It’s also easy to pronounce.”
On the subject of NAIDOC Week, Alan says it goes beyond being just a symbolic gesture.
“I feel it shines a light on the Aboriginal community that otherwise wouldn’t be there, and I think that’s great. Specifically in relation to getting to name Nara, I feel very proud and think it’s a great initiative.”