When it comes to dogged campaigners, you don't get much bigger than Gulliver.
The world's biggest model dog yesterday practised his sit and stay in Wollongong's Crown Street Mall, attracting a steady stream of curious onlookers.
Gulliver and his support crew are travelling the state to drum up community support for the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT campaign for orientation and mobility services, including canes and guide dogs for people affected by vision loss, to be funded under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
It is a campaign supported strongly by Martin Clark and Tony Sarkis, both of Woonona.
Mr Sarkis, 61, was just 16 when he got his first guide dog.
He credits Cara, and her six predecessors, for giving him the kind of freedom most take for granted.
"Once you have a disability such as blindness you think your world has ended," he said.
"But when I got my guide dog the world opened for me - I went out independently on my own, went on public transport.
"I felt I was accepted by the general public, I felt this great sense of independence, a great sense of freedom."
"She's my eyes, she's my freedom, she's also my companion," he said.
Mr Clark, who suffers from tunnel vision resulting in progressively failing sight, said orientation services taught a vision-impaired person to get where they needed to go either using a cane, electronic travel aid, a guide dog, or their remaining vision.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT spokeswoman Sally Edgar said the organisation expected up to 10,000 people to sign its NDIS campaign petition. The organisation would deliver the petition to the federal and state disability ministers on International White Cane Day on October 15.