Pathfind­ers meet

Rutherglen Reformer - - Golden Anniversary - Kenny Smith

A group of King’s Park young­sters came face-to­face with a friendly guide dog re­cently.

The boys, who are mem­bers of the Pathfind­ers, were de­lighted to meet other Pathfind­ers - a Ger­man Shep­herd which has been trained as a guide dog.

The King’s Park group was founded 50 years ago, were pleased to meet Anne Royle, who brought along her dog, Spook.

The boys learned about the ca­nine or­gan­i­sa­tion, af­ter the group’s founder Anne dis­cov­ered there was a long wait­ing list for a new Ger­man Shep­herd guide once her old one had re­tired. She felt that a wait­ing time for mo­bil­ity of up to three years was a very long time and de­cided to do some­thing to help ease the sit­u­a­tion.

Ini­tially, to make sure there was a de­mand for Ger­man Shep­herd guides, Anne com­pleted four dif­fer­ent sur­veys of the blind com­mu­nity through­out the United King­dom. Th­ese sur­veys came back as a re­sound­ing yes for more Ger­man Shep­herds.

Since that time Anne has reg­is­tered Pathfinder Dogs as a char­ity.

Anne and her group of vol­un­teers can be seen on street col­lec­tions through­out Scot­land as well as speak­ing to com­mu­nity groups and com­pa­nies about blind­ness and dogs as a whole.

Pathfinder Dogs qual­i­fied their first two work­ing dogs in 2010.

A spokesman said: “We plan to re­cruit at least two pup­pies each year to en­able us to con­tinue and grow un­til we com­plete the con­struc­tion of our train­ing vil­lage.

“We will be en­ter­ing into our own breed­ing pro­gramme once we have our train­ing vil­lage built and the fa­cil­i­ties on our grounds to take care

Ex­pe­ri­ence Anne Royle gives a Pathfinder the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence what it’s like to be blind

As­sis­tance Anne Royle shows how her Ger­man Shep­herd Spook helps her

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