Canine pal a guiding light for Geraldton music teacher

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
Bluff Point Primary School music teacher Pat Molseed with her guide dog Austin and Year 1 and 2 students.
Camera IconBluff Point Primary School music teacher Pat Molseed with her guide dog Austin and Year 1 and 2 students. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Pat Molseed has never let her blindness restrict her from living a busy and active life.

The Bluff Point Primary School music teacher was born fully sighted but lost her vision more than 35 years ago.

Since the early 1980s, she has used guide dogs to assist with her day-to-day life, including at work.

On Sunday, May 27, Mrs Molseed’s eight-year-old labrador Austin joined her in a 4km walk for the HBF Run for a Reason in Perth.

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Mrs Molseed was part of a group of blind participants, aged from their late teens through to the elderly, who participated to raise money and awareness for Guide Dogs WA.

Mrs Molseed said she hoped their participation would promote the benefits of using a guide dog to parents of vision-impaired or blind children.

“They needn’t always be using a cane or a buddy — they can use a dog and be independent,” Mrs Molseed said.

“I’m also taking part just to join in and let guide dogs be seen doing useful, happy things.”

Mrs Molseed said using a guide dog had increased her mobility and enabled her to be more self-reliant.

“They are absolutely marvellous,” she said.

“You can get out and walk because you’re not confined to having to be driven somewhere.

“Some of my guide dogs have been over to South Australia and the Eastern States with me. I’ve been able to do that because of the mobility they give me.

“They have the common sense to find things like doorways and stairways and lifts, so when you go somewhere new, you can get around just with vague instructions from people.”

A Guide Dogs Australia spokesman said the cost of training and raising a guide dog was $35,000.

Donations to Mrs Molseed’s fundraising effort can be dropped off at Bluff Point Primary School.

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