Pictured above: Charles and Rachel Zammit (on left) and Joseph and Carmena Muscat (on right), and Higgins and Holly, with Leone Sciberras, Chairman of the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation, and the Foundation’s Secretary, Lilibeth Cachia
Two couples who have brought up two guide dog puppies as Puppy Walkers for the past nine months left for Messina, Sicily this week to take the dogs to the Helen Keller Regional Centre Guide Dog School of the Italian Blind Union.
The dogs, Higgins and Holly, are now a year old and will undergo several months of intensive training before they are matched with their new owners. The two couples, Charles and Rachel Zammit, and Joseph and Carmena Muscat, were accompanied on the two-day trip by the Chairman of the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation, Leone Sciberras, and the Foundation’s Secretary, Lilibeth Cachia.
Commenting on his departure, Mr Sciberras, who will be meeting the director of the Helen Keller Centre Fabrizio Zingale, appealed for more people with visual impairment to come forward to receive orientation and mobility (OM) training and to then be able to apply to have a guide dog.
“We encourage those who wish to obtain new freedom and independence through OM and eventually having a guide dog to approach the MGDF. We look forward to further strengthen the agreements between the MGDF and the Helen Keller centre so that those who require the necessary training to enable them to be given a guide dog will find all the assistance they need,” Mr Sciberras said.
On 27 May two prospective guide dog owners, Martin Sultana, 38, a father of two, and Anna Sultana, 58, a mother of two (no relation), left for two weeks of OM training at the Messina centre, where they will be assessed as potential guide dog owners. They are accompanied by Luca Tagliana and return on 8 June.
Mr Sciberras thanked the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), who is covering the travelling expenses, Nigel Borg Cardona who supplied Royal Canin dog food for free to the puppies and Virtu Ferries.