Camperdown Chronicle
Local takes on PawGust

ONE Camperdown local is using six feet to drum up support for a cause close to his heart this month.

Archie Stevenson and his supplier dog Labrador, Leo, are currently participating in PawGust, a Guide Dog Australia initiative that challenges dog owners and their four legged friends to walk for about 30 minutes each day across August.

As part of PawGust, participants are asked to find financial donations of ‘supPawt’ in return, with a goal target of $1.4 million helping the organisation put more than 700 dogs through training and to provide several other services.

Mr Stevenson who is 95 per cent blind requires Leo, a trained guide dog, to help him be mobile in his day-to-day life.

He said Leo was one of the only guide dogs in town and had helped him maintain independence since he became his trusted companion a little more than 18 months ago.

“It’s not quite my lifeline but he helps me exercise,” he said.

“I’m getting mobility that I don’t normally get, independent mobility is the best way to put it.

“I think he’s the first dog in 30 years that anyone can remember in town, no one can remember anyone having a guide dog.”

Mr Stevenson, who is participating in the initiative for the first time, said his motivation for taking part was quite simple.

“It’s Australianism isn’t it?” he said.

“If it wasn’t for people doing this, it wouldn’t happen would it. But I’m all in favour of this.

“It’s comparatively simple doing half an hour a day because I normally do 10,000 steps a day which works out to be 20 kilometres a week.

“And there’s no big deal in him doing it either, he’s a very fit dog and he’s well known in town.”

Mr Stevenson said supporting the cause would ensure those already visually impaired were able to acces trained dogs.

“You never know when you’re going to lose your sight but that’s why it’s important the supplier dogs are there,” he said.

Mr Stevenson and Leo, along with wife Susan, have walked 34,311 paws or 19 kilometres and have raised $352 at a check on Tuesday this week since starting the initiative.

The $352 easily surpassed their initial target of $290 but they now hope to raise as much as they can and walk 100 kilometres by the end of the month.

“I would think we should do that,” Mr Stevenson said.

Anyone wishing to donate to Mr Stevenson’s PawGust campaign can do so via this link