Real Life

Fetch a PAWdometer because it's time to raise funds for Guide Dogs Australia

Inspired by her brother, Darcie is walking to raise money for Guide Dogs throughout August.

By Brigid Auchettl
Darcie Hayward and her five-year-old Alaskan malamute, Sora, will be putting paws to pavement every day in August to raise funds for Guide Dogs Australia's PAWGUST campaign.
The initiative, which encourages Aussies to walk their dogs for 30 minutes a day for 30 days, is a cause close to the 29-year-old's heart.
Her younger brother Lachie, who is legally blind, was recently matched with a guide dog of his own.
"Since Eddie arrived Lachie's been able to walk around without his cane and feel like he's just walking his dog, which is so nice," says Darcie, who lives in Langwarrin, Victoria.
"They're best friends."
Darcie (right) can't wait to raise money for other Aussie's who need a guide dog like her brother Lachie (left). Image: Supplied
Lachie, 27, was paired with black Labrador Eddie in May after 18 months of tests and compatibility training.
And after seeing first-hand the difference a guide dog makes for her brother, Darcie is overjoyed to be raising funds so other Aussies can one day have their own companion canine, like Lachie.
"A lot of people they see a guide dog and they go, 'Oh, isn't that cute'. They don't always realise how much it costs to raise a guide dog puppy so I think it'd be nice to raise some awareness," says Darcie.
"It's amazing to see how Lachie's life has improved, but there are a lot of people out that that don't have that companionship."
"I can only imagine how enriching that must be so it's really nice to be able to contribute in any way that I can."
Lachie and Eddie have become best friends! Image: Supplied
It will be Darcie's second year taking part in the charity walk after raising $5,500 in 2020 - the third highest amount in Australia.
Sharing her fundraiser via social media Darcie was blown away by the support from friends, family and the community and hopes to surpass the amount this time around.
"I shared my fundraiser on our local community Facebook page and just mentioned we are raising money for guide dogs and that hopefully Lachie can get one of his own soon. A couple of strangers donated who had seen Lachie walking around town, and his barista! It was really nice."
Sora is proud to show off her orange bandanna in support of Pawgust. Image: Supplied
And it seems Eddie is already a popular pup with the locals.
"Lots of little kids have been asking to pat Eddie, and Lachie feels really bad because he has to say no and explain he's a working boy," Darcie adds with a giggle.
Excited to be making a PAWsitive impact by walking her own dog, Darcie is keen to encourage more people to fetch their leash and tie up their sneakers for charity.
"It's a cause so close to my heart, if you're thinking of getting involved just do it," she says.
It seems you'd be barking mad not to!
HOW TO HELP: It costs in excess of $50,000 to breed, raise and train just one Guide Dog puppy and with hundreds being trained each year, every dollar raised throughout PAWGUST counts.
Register to walk at www.pawgust.com.au
Darcie and Sora love getting out for long walks together! Image: Supplied

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