Posted by Con Meehan


Cherie took the Chair, as Pres Leanne was called away unexpectedly, and introduced MC Marty,
with 27 Members and guests present. 
Both Lisa Brown and Greta De Hoog are not well, and the Club wished both
 speedy recoveries.
The Literacy Buddy program with St Mary's Primary school was completed last week.
Lynn and Ken Tam were presented their certificates. Leanne, Colin and Ben also 
participated in the program and will receive their certificates.
  • Thanks to all those that helped out at Dandenong West Primary School for their Community Festival.
           It was a great day. Thanks to Marty, Peter, Hans, John, Colin and Leanne for running the BBQ.
  • Disaster Aid – Successful trivia night run by the RC Boronia to raise funds for Sky Hydrant Installation.
          The Club had a table - Peter and Lois, Marty and Wilma, Cherie, Jan and Leanne and Colin.
  • Cherie will be attending PETS 1 this Saturday.
  • Reminders about Dist. Conference and International Convention next year.  
  • Phil – BBQ on Saturday 17th December for Major Roads from 9.00am to approx. 1.30pm, serving 1,000 people.
A big Project requiring strong Member participation. Expected to raise $2.5k to 3.0k!!!
  • AGM – 29TH November. Important to attend.
  • Club Polo T shirt orders being taken.
  • Christmas Dinner Meeting 6th December.
Peter F gave a community report:
  • $1,500 donated to Chisholm Foundation at Chisholm Tafe to support students in need. Student to present to Club next year.
  • 1st December Function at Birches to thank supporters. Members welcome.
  • $500 donated to children’s library Readathon.
Cherie introduced our Guest Speaker, Dorothy Docherty, her husband, John, and two beautiful dogs.
Dorothy, who displayed a lovely sense of humour, told us:
  • She became blind at 48 years of age when her optic nerves were damaged.
  • During rehab, Guide Dogs Vic visited her to organise assistance.
  • Her first dog, Gypsy, was a “therapy dog”, a dog which had not quite made the grade as a Guide Dog.
  • He made her get up of a morning, even if she didn’t want to! That was good for her.
  • Therapy dogs are particularly good for people with PTSD.
Dorothy told a story of her second dog, Anja, who saved her from harm while she was attempting to cross the Ringwood By Pass Road.
She heard the traffic stop at the intersection, heard the beep of the green light and tried to cross. The dog refused to move.
She spoke to her in her “mother’s voice” and still Anja would not move, so she started to cross. The dog blocked her path.
A second later, she heard a vehicle run through the red light, just in front of her. Amazingly, the dog could see what was about to happen and saved her life. Dogs are trained to disobey when necessary. Dorothy maintains that dogs are more intelligent than humans.  When the harness and lead are removed, they behave just like normal dogs.
Dorothy has travelled overseas with her dog. Guide Dogs are classified as “equipment for the disabled” and it is unlawful to separate them from their owners.
She has had three dogs, so far, including a new one, Brill. Each dog costs $6,000, but donations mean that the owner does not have to pay anything.
Owners can choose sex, colour and temperament (“affectionate” or “aloof”). One dog cost her $6,000 in vet fees to have a bath plug removed from its stomach!
In response to questions, Dorothy replied:
  • In Australia, only Labradors and Golden Retrievers are trained. Unlike in Europe, German Shepherds are not used here because of people’s fears of the breed.
  • Her remaining health issues are a lack of feeling in her left side, no spatial awareness and short memory retention.
  • There are a few hundred Guide Dogs in Victoria
  • Guide Dogs Vic breeds their own dogs from existing Guide Dogs. 150 – 200 per year.. Only some go on to be Guide Dogs.
Cherie thanked Dorothy for a wonderful talk and presented her with a gift. Some Members were then able to give the dogs carrot treats.
Marty thanked Partners and Guests, as well as Prospective Members, Andrew and Janet.
Before closure, Terry gave an update on Christian, he and Leanne spent a lot of time training to swim.
He had come back to Melbourne for a funeral and Terry took him for a swim.
He is such a good swimmer that several observers didn’t realise he is blind.
Apparently, he can “echo sound” in water. Christian refuses to use a white cane when walking – fiercely independent!
Terry also said that a playground was due for harvesting next Thursday and several Members had volunteered to help.
The Meeting then closed, with people invited to pat the dogs.

Con Meehan