Adrian’s best friend, Morris

The bond between Adrian Elliott of Murray Bridge and his dogs, is like no other. His cherished companions have been along for the ride for the past ten years, no matter what obstacles Adrian has had to face.

Being partially blind from birth, Adrian describes his congenital blindness or low vision, as like having tunnel vision. “My condition is known as Retinitis pigmentosa, you can see everything in front of you, but everything above, below, and around you, are cloudy,” Adrian said. “It's like you're looking through a narrow tube or a tunnel – you lose all your peripheral vision.”

Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment. Symptoms often begin in childhood and include decreased vision at night or in low light and loss of peripheral vision – presently, there is no effective treatment for this condition.

New Photo

Glenys and Adrian Elliott enjoying a refreshing walk along the swamplands near Long Island Reserve, Murray Bridge with Guide Dog Morris.

“As a youngster, I could see people clearly with my tunnel vision, but I struggled with reading things and probably the last 20 years or so, it's really been deteriorating.” “Eight years back, I could see faces, footpaths and stuff like that - but I can't now.”

“As a young fella, everyone just thought I was a little clumsy.”

Born near the Cheltenham Racecourse in Adelaide, Adrian and his family moved to Hawthorndene, near Blackwood in the Adelaide Hills to support his grandfather, who had lost his beloved wife around the same time Adrian was born.

“I stayed with my mum and dad, and my brother and sister in Hawthorndene, until I was probably about 29.” “I went to Goody Tech, played footy and cricket for Blackwood and at about 12 years of age, I recall I took up water skiing with friends – it was a little hit and miss, as I would try to end my turn by running up onto the bank.”

Adrian found his vision was manageable during daylight hours, but as darkness fell, it was another story. “It wasn't too bad during the day, but at night it used to be a struggle.”

In 1980 Adrian and his friends Gordon and Sue, bought a small 10-acre orchard together at Mypolonga.

“I enjoyed the orchard work and really loved being outside in the fresh air, however, having such bad eyesight and trying to pick oranges, was a nightmare,” Adrian chuckles. “Anyhow, thankfully I met Glenys in Mypolonga and after a short 12-month courtship, we got married - I sold my share of the orchard and took up working in the packing shed, at what used to be, the Mypolonga Co-Operative.

“After 30 years of service, I unfortunately started to bump into machinery and people, even walking in front of the odd forklift - that’s when we knew it was time for me to hang up my boots,” Adrian said.

Deriving its name from an Aboriginal expression meaning "cliff lookout place" Mypolonga remains a special place in Adrian’s heart. “The Mypo community was always there for us, it was our home for well over 30 years.”

“It was while we were still in Mypolonga, that my first guide dog, Halle, came along – it was good to still have a bit of sight when I got my first guide dog – it helped build my confidence with Halle.” “We had Halle until she retired in 2021, she was a first-class companion, a pretty dog, but probably not as affectionate as my current dog, Morris.” “I did have another dog for six months, in between Halle and Morris, but one day he just decided he didn’t want to be a guide dog – he just stopped and said no more.”


Retiring Guide Dog “Halle” left, looking on with Guide Dog Australia trainers as Tom Rehn of Channel Nine Adelaide interviews Adrian Elliott and Morris of Murray Bridge at Morris’s Guide Dog Graduation.

Adrian and Glenys receive much happiness and amusement from having Morris around, “Morris listens to us like he knows exactly what we're saying, sometimes I’m sure he does,” Adrian said. As the expression goes, a dog is a man's best friend—and in Adrian’s circumstances, it's easy to see why.

Adrian is supported by Genuine Support Services Australia and the NDIS – “I really enjoying getting out and about in the community with Morris and my Support Workers.” “Most of all I would be lost without the support of my wonderful wife Glenys.”

Now residing in Murray Bridge Adrian and Glenys enjoy visiting Halle at her new retirement home and spending special moments with their grandchildren when possible.

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