David Stapleton with Stitch in 2010.REMEMBER Stitch?
Nanjing Night Net

Back in 2009 the seeing-eye dog made his home in Warrnambool with carer David Stapleton.

Today Stitch lives at St Mary’s, near Sydney, with Kris Kringle who, appropriately enough, takes up the role of Santa Claus each year for children in hospital.

Stitch came to Warrnambool as a puppy and spent a year with Mr Stapleton.

He was one of seven puppies in a litter and became the first seeing-eye dog to be trained in Warrnambool. Each was paired with a volunteer carer, who trained their puppy in basic obedience and socialisation.

The program was run by Vision Australia, which met the cost of housing, feeding and caring for each puppy.

The puppies had the same access privileges as guide dogs and as part of their training must visit a range of public places including supermarkets, workplaces and restaurants.

Mr Stapleton said four puppies from the litter had since been placed with carers.

“The most common question I got asked was ‘how can you give him up’,” he said. “It’s a condition of the job. But my word, you do miss him. You just try not to get emotional.”

In 2011 Stitch had advanced training in Melbourne before he was placed with Mr Kringle.

“He’s a retired policeman who lost his eyesight through a brain tumour,” Mr Stapleton said. “To know that’s where he’s gone, we’re very very happy.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.