On Tuesday this week I had the huge pleasure of a special trip to the Guide Dog Puppy Breeding Centre at Leamington Spa. I am very proud to work for UK Guide Dogs as a volunteer puppy walker and visiting the breeding centre helped me to see the work that we do in a wider perspective. I’ve always been in awe of the wonderful dogs who help blind and partially-sighted people in their daily life and it’s an honour to be a small part of that process.
Guide Dog brood bitches and stud dogs live with families, and most litters of puppies are born at home and are therefore exposed to many different sights and sounds and other stimuli in the home environment. Litters of puppies may be born at the breeding centre for medical reasons, if there have been any problems in the pregnancy, for example. These puppies are also socialised from an early age by volunteers who handle the dogs and introduce them to a wide range of experiences. All puppies come into the breeding centre at 6 weeks old before being delivered to people like us for puppy walking. On our tour we saw some newly-born pups that were only a few days old and some 6 week old puppies that were getting ready to go and live with their puppy walkers. We were shown around by a dedicated and very entertaining group of volunteers – with their dogs. I loved the fact that this was one tour where the dogs took you round!
There is the Diary of a Puppy Walker here and don’t miss Rochester the Guide Dog Puppy’s blog here! There’s also a very moving video here all about the work that Guide Dogs do. Here’s to those wonderful dogs!