One of Australia’s most travelled Seeing Eye Dogs has taken his final Virgin Australia flight into retirement.
Ten-year-old Labrador, Odie, who has amassed more than 100,000 kilometres in air travel, equivalent to the flying of a Gold Velocity member during his eight and half years of service, has hung up his harness upon landing in Melbourne on flight VA284 from Canberra.
In a video of Odie’s final flight released by Virgin Australia, owner Christopher Edwards expressed his gratitude for the independence and freedom Odie has provided him over the years.
“This last flight of his is a big milestone. To be able to live the life I choose, to have the freedom that I have, he has been such a loyal, excellent worker and a great friend.
“Odie is going to love his retirement and live it out as a very much-loved pet,” he said.
Virgin Australia General Manager Product and Customer, Sarah Adam, wished Odie the best in his retirement.
“Whether our guests are furry or human, we love them all and we’re going to miss seeing Odie travel with us each week.
“Odie’s service should be commended, and we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement,” she said.
Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs General Manager of Client Services, Lester Chraim, thanked Virgin Australia for helping make Odie such a frequent flyer.
“Seeing Eye Dogs like Odie allow their handlers to be active and independent. It’s important they can travel with their handlers whenever they need to and it’s great that Virgin Australia have been so supportive and welcoming to Chris and Odie during their time together.”
To celebrate Odie’s significant achievements, Virgin Australia Captain Adam Sleight and Cabin Crew member Bernadette Arena presented Odie with a “pup cake” signed “Happy retirement ♡ Virgin Australia” as crew formed a guard of honour as Odie left the terminal one last time.
There are more than 200 Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs in service, helping to provide independence for people who are blind or have low vision.
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For more information on Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs, visit: https://sed.visionaustralia.org/