Luna Passed her Public Access Test!!!

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Two days before we start on our Driving Oz with the Black Dog journey, Luna had a meet and greet with one of mindDog’s assessors, Kay.

Paul didn’t know at the time that it was also an opportunity for the final assessment for Luna to be fully accredited as an Assistance Dog!  The great news came at the end of the session where Paul was informed that Luna had passed her Public Access Test (PAT)!  Kay told us that Luna will be a fantastic Ambassador not only for mindDogs, but for Assistance Dogs across Australia.

It was great to hear that the Assessors felt that we were pioneers going out into the Australian community to raise the awareness of Assistance Dogs in general!

Huge congratulations to both Luna & Paul on their massive achievement today xx

Cards, currency & celebrations

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How amazing it was to arrive in Perth yesterday and have this bundle of happiness waiting for us from BP?! Quite frankly, we’re still stunned that this equates to $10,000 of fuel for our Nissan Patrol. The cards have been well and truly secured – they are our “Precious”!! We did use the first card this morning at BP Bull Creek and everything was seamless. Paul & Kirstine make a point of telling the BP staff that we have been sponsored by BP for our trip – some are surprised, some are apathetic, some are intrigued, but we are well and truly in love with BP and will sing their praises throughout our trip 🙂

Tents, teamwork and tenacity .. 

Back in Perth for last minute preparations and appointments before we set off. Team Roadley pulled off another afternoon of hard yakka to get our sponsored 3DOG camping roof top tent fitted. Yes we’ll be changing it to a different Nissan vehicle in Victoria (spoiler alert!!), but we’ll be camping in it initially as we cross the Nullarbor. VKS 737 Radio Network accessible on our Barrett Communications HF radio (call sign – Black Dog 0212).

Stay tuned for confirmation of our departure date. Bring it on!! #teamworkforthewin

Cub Campers joins the Driving Oz family!

Oh my, what an amazing week it has been, and now we are well and truly celebrating the latest addition to the Driving Oz with the Black Dog family. Yes, family! Our sponsors have given us so much, totally supporting our trip and cause, that we can’t help but feel that we are all in this together as one big family.

Today Cub Campers confirmed that they will be supplying us with a camper trailer to use for the event, which we can pick up in Melbourne. On top of this, once the trip is done, they are going to auction off the camper trailer and DONATE the proceeds to our MyCause page. 

Are you squealing with excitement, or is it just us? No really, you’re excited too aren’t you?!

Meetings, shopping and another conversation ..

 

Never people to do things by halves, today was nothing short of MASSIVE!

  1. Meet with Barrett Communications to organise installation of our sponsored HF radio.
  2. Meeting with the kids’ teachers at the School for Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE).
  3. Meeting with Aussie Offroad Megastore – purchasing bullbar, winch, awning and recovery equipment for a great price.
  4. Getting a serious helping hand price-wise from management at Supercheap Auto in Cannington – purchasing Prorack roof racks and installation kits as well as Tred Recovery tracks.
  5. After dropping off the family at our accommodation, picking up the bullbar and awning.

The day is not over yet. As Kirstine sits here typing, Paul is putting together the roof racks to install on the Patrol. This is after already removing the factory bumper and fitting the bullbar in two hours, during which time we wrangled the kids into bed, were rained on mid fitting, and just to top it off, pooped on by a possum that was spooked by us being outside in the dark and ran up a tree over our heads, only to drop unwanted gifts on our heads..lol!

As dark set in, our neighbour in the cabin next to ours, brought over an LED lamp so that we could see what we were doing. He even offered to help us lift the bullbar into position when we were ready, so that we didn’t injure ourselves. This gentleman was intrigued by our story and cause, and asked for our website details so that he could follow our journey. He shared a little of his own experiences with the Black Dog, and how he came to realise what was actually happening. Speaking of a book, sometimes the right visual representation brings an understanding where words couldn’t accurately describe how depression impacts on your quality of life.

Tomorrow will be another day filled with appointments and meetings, but tonight we will (eventually) fall into bed content with the accessories we have been able to purchase from our meagre savings, and the knowledge that we have at least one new follower of our journey in our next door neighbour, who will no doubt also share our story with his network of friends. Mission accomplished? For today, yes.

BP is fuelling the Driving Oz journey!

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As if the travel to Melbourne, meeting the Nissan Australia Foundation and picking up our Nissan Patrol wasn’t enough, Paul came home with another sponsor!

As part of the meeting with Kate and the Nissan Australia Foundation board, they surprised Paul with a phone call to BP, who told him they were thrilled to be partnered with us, and would be providing us with $10,000 of fuel to keep us travelling. Yes, you read that correctly, and we’re still trying to comprehend it, $10,000 worth of fuel!

On Friday, Paul, Cooper and Luna met with BP staff in Docklands in Melbourne, and Luna was certainly a star attraction! Surrounded by staff with smart phones taking photos, and even making sure a cup of water was available for her, she handled the attention with aplomb. People were asking Paul questions about Luna, and were genuinely interested in her role and how she helps him. Just her presence in the building started people talking about mental health assistance dogs .. can you see how we are already starting conversations? ..

Thanks BP, you’ve amazed us with your generosity, and we can’t wait to see you as we travel!

 

 

 

 

Platinum Sponsor – Nissan Australia Foundation has provided us a Patrol

Our number one Platinum Sponsor – Nissan Australia Foundation has provided us with a Nissan Patrol for our event, as well as ANOTHER sponsor!

Paul, Cooper and Luna (Paul’s Mental Health Assistance Dog) flew to Melbourne last Wednesday to pick up the Nissan Patrol from the Nissan Head Office.  On arrival at the office, Paul was met by some of Nissan Australia Foundation’s Board members and also one of Nissan’s social media team.

Paul was expecting to pick up the Nissan Patrol, but he wasn’t expecting to be given some of Nissan Motorsports (NISMO) merchandise, and Cooper was given a GT-R toy car (which he has barely put down).  To make it an even better day, Paul was then advised that the Nissan Australia Foundation had decided to donate $10,000 worth of BP fuel!

After one other meeting on Friday (see our next blog post!), thanks to another surprise that Paul had during the Nissan Australia Foundation meeting, Paul, Cooper and Luna travelled back to Western Australia across the Nullarbor with the new “beast”, arriving back home on Sunday evening.  Paul did take a short cut home, which had been recommended to him as it would save him driving an extra 200kms, but thanks to recent rain/flooding in the area, the graded gravel road was more of a serious off-road track.  On the plus side, even though the vehicle was stock standard as it came out of the factory, Paul was extremely impressed with its capability stating “most standard four wheel drives would not have had a chance of getting through some of the washouts and ruts”, so we are sure the vehicle will definitely be up to the challenge of our adventure.

Thanks again Nissan Australia Foundation for your fantastic support!

Of dogs and planes and cars and things …

 

 

It’s been a hectic week getting organised for Paul to travel over to Melbourne to pick up our new Nissan Patrol. Having to travel with Cooper and Luna and without Kirstine was extremely stressful for us adults. Luna isn’t yet allowed to travel in the aircraft cabin with Paul as she is still in training, so we had to book her to travel as pet freight with Qantas on the same flight. That part of the process worked extremely smoothly and Kirstine was able to book everything on line, including hiring the crate from Jetpets, who delivered it to Qantas Freight ready for Luna when she arrived to check-in at Perth. Paul was even able to get a picture of Luna’s crate being loaded onto the plane!

The Qantas flight crew were nothing short of outstanding. Kirstine had arranged a meet-and-assist to ensure that Paul had the support he needed, and the crew went above and beyond to make sure that both Paul and Cooper were taken care of on board. No less than three crew members also stopped to listen about the Driving Oz with the Black Dog journey and our cause, noting the details so they could check out the website later.

Luna arrived safely, and Cooper had to test out the size of the crate for himself. As you can see, it was very spacious!

Paul had picked up a Thrifty hire car, and when the agent heard about our trip, he upgraded Paul to their top model Mitsubishi Pajero Sports SUV! Instead of a compact sedan, he now had a funky SUV with flappy paddle gear box!

To Jetpets, Qantas Freight, Qantas and Thrifty, our heartfelt thanks for taking care of Paul, Luna & Cooper. You may not have understood the levels of anxiety that Paul was experiencing while travelling, but your service made the day far easier for him to cope with, particularly when he couldn’t have Luna on board the flight. We will definitely be seeing you again, this time as a family 🙂

 

Albany Truck and Car Hire helps us out!

We’ll be catching up on some exciting updates shortly. We have the new Nissan and we have a new sponsor too! 

In the meantime, today we returned a lovely Hyundai i45 hire car to Albany Truck And Car Hire now that we have the Nissan. Kalvin and his team were so impressed by our upcoming trip and important cause, that they didn’t charge us for all the additional kms that we’d used. Every dollar counts and the service we receive every time we use Albany Truck and Car Hire is exceptional. If you need to hire a removal truck or car, please give them a call! Thank you for your support! We’ll see you again when the trip is over!