LABRADOR Orca is not just Andrew Close's new pet, but also his new lease on life.
The 24-year-old visually impaired college student lost his previous guide dog, Matilda, in a shocking incident in August when she was run over by a car while fleeing an attack by two pit bulls and a bull terrier cross.
Seeing Eye Dogs Australia was overwhelmed by the community's response to Matilda's death. Donations helped cover the $30,000 it cost to train Orca, who is another black female labrador.
Orca's ''a good worker'' says Mr Close, who is looking forward to taking her ''to the football to see Essendon win every game''.
The seeing eye dog community is ''quite excited that we've been able to find a suitable match for Andrew,'' said the national manager of client services and senior instructor at Seeing Eye Dogs Australia, Harry Vanderjagt.
''Andrew is a very active young man involved in a lot of sport. He likes to walk fairly quickly so he needed a dog who was very keen to be involved in travelling.''