It was a graduation celebration of a different kind at Silo Hotel on Tuesday, with a number of guide dogs getting some well-deserved recognition.
After two years of training, five guide dogs, one autism support dog and two companion dogs graduated in front of their loved ones. A guide dog trainer also graduated.
Guide Dog Tasmania services coordinator Kim Ryan said it was exciting to see the progress of the dogs throughout the year.
"It starts with 18 months with a volunteer puppy raising family and then six months of training," she said.
"Then they're intricately matched with a client, based on walking speed, home environment, type of dog and type of home that they go into."
Guide dog client Anne Jackson said having Billy with her had changed her life.
"I hadn't realised how much less I was going out over the years. But with Billy, I've started going to places I haven't been to for years," she said.
"I went to Melbourne in October and I hadn't been there for several years ... I knew that Billy would find the way even if I got lost myself, so she's just fabulous."
Ms Jackson has two other dogs, and when Billy is with them she is just an ordinary dog.
"But when I get her harness out and she puts on her uniform she just becomes Miss Co-operative," she said.
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Sean Cromwell has trained eight guide dogs in two years, and was officially named a guide dog trainer at the ceremony. He said it had been a lot of work, but it was very rewarding.
"Every day is different challenge. It's fantastic to see the results, not only in the dogs, but also seeing the changes noticeable for our clients," he said.
"Simple things such as them being able to get out in the morning and maybe go to work, it seems like a really obvious easy thing for most people, so it's fantastic to see those differences that we can we can provide."
Each guide dog costs $50,000 to train, and wouldn't be possible with out donations and volunteers, Ms Ryan said.
There are four people in Tasmania currently on the wait list for guide dogs and four in training. However, a number of dogs are about to go into retirement, which will increase the demand.
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