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Posted by RLPA

April 26, 2016

Eels support ‘Respect my Uniform’ campaign

As the Eels prepare to take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs this Friday night, Parramatta players were joined by labrador puppies at the Eels Training Centre, alongside Parramatta Eels Member Liz Wheeler and her Guide Dog Poppi.

Poppi, who is also a proud Eels Pet Member, has been partnered with Liz since May 2015, and has completely transformed her life. 

“Having Poppi is amazing; the same path that had taken me 20 minutes to walk with a cane now only takes five minutes,” Liz said. 

“Poppi makes going to Eels games so easy as she can guide me to my seat and through the crowds easily, and she’s given me so much more confidence to be out of the house.”

Timed with International Guide Dog Day, the ‘Respect My Uniform’ campaign aims to educate the community that a well-intentioned pat can undo months of training, and frequent distraction can cause anxiety or serious injury for Guide Dogs and their handlers. 

“It’s great that so many people love Guide Dogs, but please love them from a distance,” Dr Graeme White, CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT said. 

“You wouldn’t distract a taxi driver concentrating on the road, so please don’t distract a working Guide Dog.”

“Seeing the freedom Poppi has given Liz and the great relationship they have, it’s hard to imagine the two being apart,” said Eels fullback Michael Gordon.

“The last thing you’d want is for someone patting or distracting Poppi to put Liz or the people around her in danger and undo all her incredible training.” 

“The Eels are very proud to be able to support Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, particularly alongside Liz and Poppi as Eels Members,” Parramatta Eels CEO John Boulous said.  

“They survive entirely from donations, so we’re more than happy to be able to lend our voices to the ‘Respect My Uniform’ campaign and honour their life-changing work.”

You can support Guide Dogs by visiting the Guide Dogs website here.  

Photo: Michael Gordon is obviously smitten (Eels supplied)

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