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The Paw-fect Travelling Companion with Cocky Guides

Ella is Margaret's first Guide Dog. Cocky Guides helped Margaret gain confidence with Ella, and it turns out she's the paw-fect travelling companion!

Low vision traveller Margaret Buck is a regular on Cocky Guides’ sensory adventures. She’s travelled to the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, Uluru in the Northern Territory, and Fraser Island and Cairns in Queensland. Margaret explored these destinations with group support and a white cane.

Now, Margaret has a new travelling companion. Ella is Margaret’s first Guide Dog. Cocky Guides helped Margaret gain confidence with Ella, and it turns out she’s the paw-fect travelling companion!

Margaret explains: “I was nervous as a first-time dog guide handler. Would I have everything I needed for Ella? Will Ella behave in new environments? These are the questions that made me anxious about travelling with a dog guide.”

Cocky Guides has plenty of experience with travellers and their dog guides, having led trips with pawfect companions to a range of locations, including Fraser Island, the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kakadu, and Lightning Ridge.

The key to a paw-fect trip

Cocky Guides recommends new handlers talk to them about the most appropriate and experience and location for their first trip with their new dog guide.

“I appreciated how Cocky Guides took the time to talk me through different trips, so we could choose the right debut trip for Ella and me,” Margaret says. “The trip we chose was a pamper weekend with friends.”

“I could opt-in and -out of activities as I pleased. This relaxed approach allowed Ella and I to spend time together on a stand-up paddleboard. i even got to do some independent recall tasks, where I got Ella to return to me off the lead whenever I call her. Ella did awesomely!”

Margaret sitting on a paddleboard in the water with guide dog Ella sitting on the board in front of her
Travelling with Cocky Guides gave Margaret to try new things with Ella, like paddleboarding.

Building on your foundations

“I first met Ella in June 2021 during a Covid lockdown,” Margaret explains. “Ella and I were lucky to learn four local routes with our trainer. Gaining confidence by travelling with Cocky Guides allowed me to regularly extend these routes, and join Cocky Guides day trips and social events.”

“This outcome was perfect. I can now join more Cocky Guides adventures with the confidence that Ella will get me to the meeting point!”

Margaret and Ella recommend Cocky Guides

Margaret says: “Travelling with Cocky Guides is like travelling with old friends who love our dogs as much as we do! They understand and respect that every traveller and dog guide is a unique, special team.”

Blind and low vision travellers can subscribe to a newsletter and search for upcoming tours on the Cocky Guide website, or call 1300 657 640 to talk to the team directly.

This feature first appeared in Travel Without Limits. Subscribe to the magazine here.

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