Char­ity in puppy plea

Guide dogs for the blind

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - NEWS - Sharon Lip­trott

A dis­abil­ity char­ity is ap­peal­ing for vol­un­teers to give spe­cial pup­pies a lov­ing home for a year.

Guide Dogs Scot­land want peo­ple to help in a process that will lead to life-chang­ing mo­bil­ity aid for adults, chil­dren and young peo­ple with sight loss through­out Scot­land.

They are des­per­ate for peo­ple to step for­ward to care for a puppy while aged from seven weeks up to 15 months old – be­fore they go on for for­mal train­ing to be­come a Guide Dog, giv­ing back free­dom of move­ment to blind or par­tially-sighted peo­ple.

Liz and David Gem­mell of Locker­bie have al­ready taken up the chal­lenge with their first Guide Dogs puppy, Jack, giv­ing them plenty of en­joy­ment while help­ing out an amaz­ing cause.

They said: “Jack is our first guide dog puppy and we love hav­ing him. We en­joy be­ing part of the Guide Dogs fam­ily, meet­ing new peo­ple and con­tribut­ing to a lovely puppy’s life. We’d def­i­nitely en­cour­age oth­ers to get in­volved.”

A guide dog puppy train­ing class was held in Dum­fries on Wed­nes­day morn­ing at Park Farm, to give po­ten­tial new helpers an idea of what’s in store and what they can do to help. It was the chance to meet ex­ist­ing vol­un­teers and their pup­pies, as well as Guide Dogs staff.

Vol­un­teer co-or­di­na­tor Mau­reen Turner says any­one in­ter­ested can still get in­volved and make a dif­fer­ence. Cur­rently there are around 530 guide dog own­ers in Scot­land, ini­tially sup­ported by the puppy walk­ers.

She said: “Puppy walk­ers are amaz­ing vol­un­teers who start our pup­pies on their jour­ney to be­com­ing ful­lyfledged guide dogs.

David Gem­mell of Locker­bie is cur­rently car­ing for puppy Jack who will be­come a Guide Dog

“They pro­vide the full­time them used to dif­fer­ent care and ed­u­ca­tion en­vi­ron­ments. of our pup­pies un­til they Guide Dogs cov­ers all are ready to go to for­mal feed­ing and vet­eri­nary train­ing school. It’s an costs while the puppy is in extremely re­ward­ing role the vol­un­teer’s care and and vol­un­teers re­ceive full Mau­reen says it is pos­si­ble train­ing and lots of sup­port.” to be­come a puppy walker

“To be el­i­gi­ble for the role, even if you have a pet dog, vol­un­teers need to be able as long as it is of suit­able to spend the ma­jor­ity of the tem­per­a­ment. day with the puppy and have The char­ity re­lies on a se­curely fenced gar­den. do­na­tions from the pub­lic

“They’ll also need to be to keep the guide dog able to take their pup into ser­vice run­ning and says many var­ied en­vi­ron­ments, it costs over £55,000 to train such as shops, cafes and on and sup­port a guide dog to pub­lic trans­port to get from birth to re­tire­ment.

Re­ward­ing

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