Our audience reach so far

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We have done some audience reach reviews and so far we have reached in excess of 200,000 people!

This number includes the followers of our sponsors that have shared our event with their own networks.  It also includes our own networks on social media and through our website/blog.  We also included the radio interview that we had a couple of weeks ago on 6PR.

Considering we were aiming for a reach audience of 1,000,000 for our event in total and we are still 59 days from the start of the event with more media coverage expected prior to our departure, we may exceed a reach of 2,000,000 – 3,000,000 people!

This is great news for our event and highlights that what we are doing is actually reaching out into the Australian community.  Our event is also reaching the USA, UK, China, Japan, Singapore, Ireland, Thailand, India and Russia.

 This is also fantastic news for our Sponsors.  By sponsoring us, they are getting international recognition!

Businesses need to know the law

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Today was a tough day for Paul, and was proof that there are still people and organisations who deal with the public every day that don’t know the law relating to Assistance Dogs (Service Dogs).

Paul finally tried to go into a cafe by himself for the first time with Luna.  Unfortunately due to a lack of training for their staff, Paul was refused entry with Luna.  This is a breach of the Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Paul tried to explain to the staff that it was his legal right to enter the cafe with Luna, but they still refused entry.

Luna was wearing her yellow mindDog Assistance Dog vest, an embroidered Service Dog collar and she was on an embroidered service dog lead (wearing the same gear as pictured in this article).

Unfortunately Paul couldn’t handle the situation any more, so he had to leave the cafe.  He is now feeling sick from anxiety.

This situation showed how important Driving Oz with the Black Dog is, and that we have a lot of work ahead of us! Every organisation that deals with the public needs to train their staff in the law relating to Assistance/Service Dogs.

Where are MHADs allowed to go?
Assistance Dogs, also known as Service Dogs are allowed access to spaces open to the public, including but not limited to: restaurants, cafes, hospitals, airplanes, doctor’s offices, cabs, zoos, stores, etc.

Where may MHADs be lawfully excluded?
MHADs may be lawfully excluded from private spaces including but not limited to private homes, private clubs, etc. They may also be excluded from spaces where their presence constitutes a safety risk, (e.g., operating rooms, radioactive laboratories, heavy construction sites, commercial kitchen).

Please follow our Blog, share and like us on Facebook to help spread the word about what we are doing.

Please encourage any media outlets within your area to join us on our journey to raise awareness of Assistance Dogs and Lifeline by tagging them on Facebook and other social media sites.  Hopefully some of them will get involved so that we can try to educate the general public about Assistance Dogs and Mental Health in general.  To date, only one radio station and no TV networks have contacted us.  We want to get the word out before it happens to someone else.  Paul has been on 24/7 watch since this event occurred as it has really upset him.  Businesses don’t realise that refusing a legitimate Assistance Dog, in this case a Mental Health Assistance Dog, can have such an impact on a handler that they may consider self harm.

Public Relations Support

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Today has been a huge day for organisations contacting us, wanting to sponsor us.  Sue from Vittori Communications has generously offered to support us by providing the following;

  • Drafting a media release and media backgrounder
  • Linking us up with media outlets
  • Interviewing us
  • Coaching us in how to handle media interviews
  • Assisting us with identifying fundraising ideas.

Sue has even offered to provide us with a day or two of home-style accommodation in Melbourne!

Thanks heaps Sue and we look forward to working with you!

Lightforce is adding light to our event

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We are excited to announce that Lightforce Australia has joined our growing list of Sponsors, providing us with a pair of their 50w Genesis HID driving lights. They are also supplying us with some combo filters and a wiring harness. This equipment will definitely help us whilst travelling at night and in low light so that we can get to our destination as safely as possible.

Once we get to our campsite, we will also be able to see where things are and what we are eating thanks to the flexible LED camping light that Lightforce is also supplying us.

Checkout their full range at http://lightforce.com/products/

Thank you Lightforce Australia for your fantastic support of our event!

If you need talk, call Lifeline 13 11 14

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We are aware of a tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of two people when it crashed into the Swan River in Perth in front of thousands of families waiting to see the Perth Skyworks later tonight (which has now been cancelled).  We are also aware of the tragic incident in Melbourne with innocent lives lost and many more injured.

If any of these events have affected you, or your family/friends in any way, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.  This is a free service that will listen to you and provide you with information to assist you.  Lifeline is available 24/7.

A Short Hello Video

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We thought that we would make a short video to say hello from our family to you and to thank our current sponsors and those who are working hard in the background to try to organise more sponsors.

Please click here to watch the video.  Please note that we have not received video editing software or video equipment except for a TomTom Bandit,  so what you are seeing is raw footage.  If we receive software prior to making our next video, the next one could be much prettier! ;P

Dexil – Friendly Dog Collars Keeps Giving

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Jenny from Dexil – Friendly Dog Collars (one of our fantastic Sponsors) has announced that they will donate 10% of their sales when purchased through a special Driving Oz with the Black Dog link.  Make sure you use this specific link or the 10% will not come to our cause!

Friendly Dog Collars WON Australian Canine Product of the Year in 2014 and has featured on The Project and voted HOT by Bondi Vet Dr Chris Brown! 

Let others know if your dog is approachable or needs space with our unique range of colour coded temperament awareness collars, leads, harnesses and coats. Based on the simple Traffic Light System this product has been helping desperate dog owners all over the world to prevent incidents BEFORE they occur.

With 10 ranges to choose from there is something for everyone.

What kind of dog do you have?

Friendly, Nervous, No Dogs, Caution, Training, Deaf Dog, Blind Dog, Do Not Feed, Service Dog or Adopt Me?

Don’t forget to follow Dexil – Friendly Dog Collars on their social media sites to keep up to date with all of their great specials and announcements!

It has been a huge week

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It has been a huge week this last week.

As the count down reaches 72 days to our departure on this massive journey, interest in our event is climbing very quickly.  Hopefully in the next week or two we will be able to announce some more fantastic sponsors.

We are currently having a break in Perth with the kids, but whilst they are playing, we are still on our laptops finalizing details/sponsors for this event, so if your organisation has a location in Perth or the surrounding area and you would like to see us to discuss how your organisation can help us, or if you would like to meet us to give us the goods that you have agreed to provide to us, please don’t hesitate to contact us at DrivingOzBlackDog@gmail.com or call us on 0427 388 168.

Sponsors Still Required and Welcome

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We are only 75 days away from the start of our event and we still need sponsors for a 4×4 vehicle, an Off-Road Camper Trailer and Fuel for our vehicle. We still have some key items that we are looking for a sponsor to provide us so that we don’t need to tap into our savings any more than necessary.

Unfortunately Ford Motor Company, Toyota Australia, Mitsubishi Motors Australia, Holden, Jeep, Nissan and Land Rover have not been able to help us or haven’t yet responded…we’re still interested in you! 🙂 We have had a response from some individual dealer principals, stating that as much as they love our cause, they are not allowed to sponsor us for a national event. It’s a difficult position for them to be in, but if there’s a way to make it work, we’re happy to work with you!

We are hoping that television and radio networks will be able to help us to share the message about our trip too – 6PR, ABC, SBS Australia, Channel 9,  Channel 7, Channel 10, Channel 31 (Australia) or FOX.

4×4 Vehicle

We need a four wheel drive vehicle that has a minimum of 7 seats. We are not worried about having a brand new vehicle (however that would be ideal), it just needs to be mechanically perfect.  We are also happy to return the vehicle at the end of the event so that it can be sold to recover some of the costs of this sponsorship.  The vehicle needs to have the following critical items (These items do not have to be paid for by the vehicle supplier, an after market accessories company is welcome to step up and supply these items);

  • Steel Bull Bar & Winch
  • Heavy Duty Tow Bar with Wiring and Anderson Plug
  • Heavy Duty Roof Racks
  • 2nd Spare Wheel/Tyre & Carrier
  • Long Range Fuel Tanks or Fuel Cans and Mounts
  • Off-Road Suspension
  • Anderson Plug at the Front of the Vehicle
  • Fitment of our REDARC Supplied Dual Battery Charging System
  • Fitment of our REDARC Supplied Electric Trailer Brake System
  • Fitment of our Communications Equipment (Barrett Radio, UHF radios etc)
  • A New Set of Off-Road Tyres

Off-Road Camper Trailer

We need a heavy duty Off-Road Camper Trailer that is large enough to suit our family of 6.  Again we are not necessarily looking for a new unit, but like the vehicle, it will need to be mechanically perfect. The camper needs to have the following critical items ;

  • Kitchen
  • Large Fridge suitable for a family of 6 (2 adults and 4 kids)
  • Annex
  • Independent Coil Spring Suspension
  • Electric Brakes (preferably AL-KO ESC)
  • Toilet
  • Shower
  • Minimum of 2 heavy duty Batteries
  • Anderson Plug to Charge the Batteries
  • Fitment of our REDARC Supplied 2000W Inverter
  • A New Set of Off-Road Tyres
  • 2nd Spare Wheel/Tyre and Holder
  • Top Rack for Carrying Extra Equipment/Bikes

Fuel

Driving around this wonderful Country during our Journey is going to be extremely exciting, however the cost of fuel to  complete the event is going to be significant.  We expect to be doing around 80,000 kilometers which will equate to around $18,000 worth of fuel.

If you are able to supply any of the above items, please get in contact with us as soon as possible DrivingOzBlackDog@gmail.com or 0427 388 168.   Please encourage any dealerships/businesses that you know that supply any of the above items, to help us out ASAP. We are available to discuss sponsorship or our event in general 7 days a week.

Please refer to our website for the latest Sponsorship Packages and the the most up to date list of equipment that we still require.

Luna went to the movies

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We took the kids and Luna to the movies at the Hoyts Garden City. It was great to see a wheelchair-bound man and his carer also enjoying the same film, which for us shows that Hoyts truly is an inclusive cinema centre. The staff were respectful as we entered the movie, and we’re fairly sure that none of the moviegoers even knew Luna was there, seeing as she fell asleep and missed the whole thing 😛 

While we were in the complex, a man complimented Paul on Luna, and asked questions about her role. Another lady was telling her daughter about service dogs, and asked about the tasks that Luna does for Paul to assist him. They were intrigued by our upcoming trip, and promised to look us up online.

The conversations are already happening informally, and we’re seeing more traffic to our website and Facebook page as a result of us being out and about in Perth. With two weeks left of the school holidays and more outings and activities planned with the kids & Luna, there’s great potential to reach even more people and share our passion. 

“Depression is a flaw in chemistry, not character”