Picture of Harry

Hi. My name is Harry, I'm a Guide Dog Puppy in Training and this is my Blog.

Atherton Appeal

Harry supported Guide Dogs' appeal to equip the brand new training school for the North of England at Atherton. He was keen to help as he was to be one of the first puppies to train at the new school.

Harry was at the launch of the appeal on 7th October 2008 where he got to meet the Press. One of the newspaper articles can be seen here.

August 24, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Since Harry left on May 5th, life at Number 58 has not quite been the same.  We have Lacey, our Retired Guide Dog and we’ve boarded a few pups over the summer, but Harry left a huge hole in our lives and we miss the goofy little man dreadfully. On the other hand we are so incredibly proud of him.

I was reading another Puppy Walker’s blog recently and came across the following comment that someone had left. It just about sums up everything we feel about raising a Guide Dog pup:- Your heart will break, and you’ll wonder why you did this to yourself, but then one day you’ll see a dog out working and you’ll remember the real reason you’ve put yourself through this roller coaster ride. And then you’ll be able to be incredibly proud of your pup and the work you did with him, and THEN you’ll be all excited to get your next one and do it all over again.

So, with that in mind, here’s a few photos of our first pup, Alfie that we’d like to share.

Alfie came back to stay with us for a few days over the summer and he very kindly brought his Guide Dog Owner, his wife and her dog Simon. It was absolute privilege to have him back here with us, but to see him working in harness, well, it was unbelievable . We were just so, so proud of him.

Alfie with his owner, his wife and Simon at Leeds Station

Alfie arrives at Leeds station with his owner, his wife and Guide Dog Simon

The two working dogs,  Alfie and Simon, had a great time climbing to the top of  Ilkley Moor

On the top of Ilkley Moor

On the top of Ilkley Moor

and an even better time playing around in the muddy water of the tarn.

Alfie and Simon in the tarn

Alfie and Simon in the tarn

So, we’ve spent the summer getting to know our retired dog Lacey, having other pups to stay, and playing host to our first pup – now it’s time to move forward.

And we are SO excited – a new pup will arrive at Number 58 tomorrow!

We are busy madly puppy-proofing the house as we have become somewhat lax over the last couple of months, but it’s all being done with a smile and a huge sense of anticipation.

The reality is that we just can’t wait!

August 18, 2009

Harry on the move

Following on from the previous post, we had a phone call early this morning from Harry’s trainer.

She rang to tell us that Harry is moving on to Advanced Training TODAY.

He’s off to Wales!

His advanced trainer will be ringing in a couple of weeks to give us more news. Watch this space!

August 17, 2009

Another update on Harry

A week or so ago we had a telephone call from Harry’s trainer to update us on his progress.

His training appears to be going really well, and we discussed couple of points in detail, one of which related to his motivation. The other related to Harry’s “spending” (or toilet habits).  It seems that, although he was given the opportunity to “spend” before going out, he always managed to find a little something extra to deposit while out on a training walk.

This is not the best of habits to have, a working Guide Dog should always be “clean” on a walk and this really needed to be sorted out.

On Friday we were delighted to receive a written update on his progress, which included the following:-

“Harry continues to progress with his training tasks. His motivation and willingness to take responsibility of the guiding role has improved. He enjoys regular routes with an incentive at the end, this has also helped increase his confidence and initiative levels throughout his training.

I have established his spending routine and he has been consistently clean on his walks for a while now.

You will be pleased to know Harry will be progressing onto advanced training.

Harry has been a pleasure to train, he has been a credit to you. I’m sure he is going to make someone a great guide and companion.”

Harry’s “matching form” has been completed.  This is where all the attributes of the dog are listed and details circulated to all the District Teams around the country who have  blind or visually impaired people waiting for the “right” dog.  Once he has been selected by a District Team he will move to that area and undertake his Advanced Training.

Matching the correct dog with the correct owner takes skill and experience. The owner’s length of stride, height and lifestyle all contribute to the type of guide dog they will be matched with.  Harry will be the right dog for someone, but we just don’t know who that will be, or where they live.

Now we just have to wait  to find out which part of the country Harry will be going to, to do his Advanced Training and spend his working life.