Beau was the very first formally trained Guide Dog in Australia.
A little black kelpie fox-terrier cross of indeterminate heritage, Beau was matched to Mrs Elsie Mead in August 1952 and provided Elsie with 13 years of faithful service as her Guide Dog. As Elsie’s loyal companion, Beau provided independence and safety and, according to Mrs Mead, “opened the portals of a new life for me and bridged the gulf that normally separates the sighted and the sightless”.
Beau and Elsie became famous throughout Australia. Thanks to their countless press, radio, and television interviews, Beau and Elsie brought awareness of the safety, mobility, and inclusion a trained Guide Dog is able to offer their handler. Indeed, in just one eight-week period, Beau and Elsie visited every state in Australia together, covering some 13,000km and appearing at more than 100 Civic receptions, meetings, and interviews. One could say they were "dog tired" by the time they got home to Perth!
Elsie became Secretary of the West Australian Guide Dog Association and she and Beau worked together for an astonishing 13 years! As one would expect, during that time they both had their share of adventures demonstrating their loyal bond and trust.
Later in his career, Beau and Elsie visited a businessman with a view to gaining sponsorship for Guide Dogs. As they were leaving, Beau refused Elsie's command to step forward into the lift and when Elsie tried to step forward Beau blocked her path. Having learned to trust Beau implicitly, Elsie returned to the businessman's office to enquire if there was anything blocking the way. He followed the pair back to the lift and was horrified to discover that although the doors were open, the lift was not there. Elsie would have been stepping into an open shaft! The businessman returned to his office and immediately gave a very nice donation to Guide Dogs!