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Guide Dogs Victoria Graduation Day 2022

It's not just school students graduating at this time of year the latest crop of guide dogs is also well on its way to a rewarding career. Guide Dogs Victoria has celebrated the results of its recent canine graduates many of which will go on to provide life-changing support to people across the state.

On Friday 16th December 2022, Guide Dogs Victoria held an event the Abbotsford Convent to celebrate its graduating class of 2022. 

In total, 81 dogs are graduating from this year’s class and will go on to careers that help Victorians live a life without limits.

Around half will end up going into service as qualified Guide Dogs whilst the rest will enter meaningful careers in other ways, as Therapy Dogs, Companion Dogs, Ambassador Dogs and more.

As part of the celebrations, the event was attended by a 12-foot Guide Dog float, Goldie in his ceremonial cap and gown.

They will support people like Antony Rako who has a rare degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa and is currently legally blind. A year ago, he was matched with Guide Dog Brett, whom he credits with helping him achieve a confident new sense of independence and the freedom to explore unfamiliar areas. Now, they're inseparable.

"We're definitely best mates and I couldn't see my life without him" added Antony.

Melbourne based Guide Dog Handler Nikki was also recently matched with her first Guide Dog, Perdi. The two have been a working Guide Dog Team since March this year.  


Nikki lost her vision suddenly seven years ago when she woke up one morning and couldn’t see. She was rushed to hospital with a suspected brain tumour, but the cause was her body overproducing spinal fluid that crushed her optic nerve. She underwent optic nerve sheathing which restored her vision to tunnel vision. Nikki describes it as looking through a keyhole. 


Nikki received service from Guide Dogs initially to learn how to navigate her world with a white cane, as well as other orientation and mobility and home living skills. 


Of the big decision to move from cane to canine and receive her first Guide Dog, Nikki says she wouldn’t change it for the world.  

“The intense training and the early morning wake ups have all been worth it - 120%. My only regret is not receiving her earlier,” Nikki said. 

Perdi has made herself at home with Nikki’s two other dogs, 13 year old Golden Cocker Spaniels Hunny and Ellie, and cat Pavarotti! 


Perdi’s final training is featured in Episode 3 of Born To Leadand Nikki and Perdie’s matching story is the highlight of Episode 4. 

It takes $50,000 to breed, raise and train just one Guide Dog. 

For more information on how you can support Guide Dogs Victoria’s vital work, visit

MEDIA RELEASE, 19th December 2022


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