Guide Dogs Queensland opened the doors of its new onsite veterinary clinic to supporters and guests at its Bald Hills Breeding and Training Centre yesterday evening.
Over $500,000 was invested into the new clinic, including a $230,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, to provide state-of-the-art facilities to care for Queensland’s hardest working dogs.
80 other major sponsors and over a thousand individual Queensland donors contributed to fund the build and fit-out of this new facility.
Guide Dogs Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michael Kightley said the new clinic would help Guide Dogs achieve its plans to double the number of puppies it breeds over the next couple of years to meet the growing demand for working Guide Dogs in our community.
“There are currently more than 35 people on the waitlist for a Guide Dog, which is just too many lives on hold,” Mr Kightley said.
“Currently external vet bills cost the charity almost $220,000 each year. Having this dedicated onsite clinic will cut expenses by more than half, allowing funding for an additional 24 Guide Dogs to be trained for Queenslanders over the next five years.
“But this clinic is more than that for us,” he said. “The new clinic will also provide a full-service facility with comprehensive healthcare for Guide Dogs from the day they’re born and through their working life, ensuring our Guide Dogs live a happy and healthy life.
“I have to express my heartfelt thanks to the many major supporters and the many Queenslanders that came together to show their support and make this new clinic possible.
“We simply couldn’t have done it without you.”
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they were proud to have supported such a worthwhile initiative on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.
“Hand Heart Pocket helps people in need and supports charitable programs and initiatives that help to improve outcomes for individuals across the state,” Gary said.
“Our Significant and Flagship Grants help organisations to deliver essential services, as well as enabling us to address strategic areas of unmet need in the community.”
“Our Lodges have long supported Guide Dogs Queensland at a grassroots level as well, so this partnership was an extension of that support, to empower more Queenslanders with low or no vision to lead more independent lives,” he said.
The opening of the new Guide Dogs Vet Clinic marked the start of Guide Dogs Queensland’s 60th Birthday celebrations in 2020.
Photo: McNab Construction’s Ryan Tunney, Hand Heart Pocket Executive Officer Commercial and Company Secretary Robert Qualtrough and Guide Dogs Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michael Kightley.