Guide Dogs get on board with Ansett-ANA
Ansett – ANA played a critical role if the early years of Guide Dogs Australia.
Ansett – ANA transported dogs and clients when training was still being carried out at the National Centre in Kew, Victoria. In the early days, dogs were offered for training by donation. In 1968 the January appeal resulted in 130 dogs being offered with 11 being selected as suitable for further training. They were transported to the National Centre by Ansett-ANA.
Clients were also transported to Kew for training with their prospective dog and then flown home with their new family member.
As a result, there was a necessity for further training for both Guide Dogs and Ansett-ANA staff.
Ansett-ANA worked in close cooperation with Guide Dogs in the training of dogs, by making their parked aircraft available to the National Training Centre for guide dog familiarisation.
In the mid-60s around 50 dogs received aircraft familiarisation training, which included such refinements as ascending and descending the aircraft steps and general aircraft behaviour.
They also needed to be exposed to the new and strange noises associated with the aircraft and airport.
In 1964, with the granting of permission for Guide Dogs to travel in the aircraft cabin with their owners by Ansett-ANA, workshops for aircrew had to include safety procedures for the evacuation of vision impaired passengers and their dogs.
Staff were also exposed to one of the challenges of travel for the vision impaired by eating a plane meal while blindfolded!