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.

November 17, 2008

A Room with a View

Harry has been on holiday again.

We took Harry back to the Lake District, to the same hotel we visited in August, but this time for a whole week. Our intention was to keep Harry’s Blog up to date with his adventures but unfortunately our room, which had fabulous views of Lake Windermere, didn’t have much mobile phone reception. This meant our internet connection was dreadful and uploading photographs became a nightmare, so the whole plan had to be abandoned.

Harry didn’t seem to mind too much though, because as far as he was concerned the room was just perfect.

Not only did he get to sleep at night in the same room as us, but there were windows low enough for him to see out of. Harry was delighted to find that his bed was located right underneath one and spent most of the first afternoon staring out the window, watching the birds and gazing wistfully at the lake, daydreaming of all the exciting things still to come.

Harry gazing out the window

September 23, 2008

Under the table

On the last day of our holiday we visited the Tree House, part of The Alnwick Garden.

The Alnwick Tree House

Harry was fascinated by the whole experience, especially along some of the higher walkways, where he could peer down between the cracks to the ground below. There are also a couple of suspended rope bridges, but Harry wasn’t too sure, so we didn’t push him to walk over them.

Part of the Tree House contains a restaurant and so we decided to eat there that night. We thought it was a great idea and so did Harry. He duly installed himself under the table and then went very quiet. We thought he’d gone to sleep, but when we bent down to check on him we were horrified. We suddenly realised we had a potential disaster and possible eviction on our hands. Everyone knows that dogs love sticks, and Harry had his own personal supply.

This is what Harry was faced with under the table.

Tree branches under the table

We were saved by a three pice band who appeared to play some live music while we ate. Harry found the music, especially the mandolin, much more interesting than the sticks. Phew.

September 22, 2008

Wash and go

One of the great things about the beaches in Northumberland is the dunes, a real bonus for inquisitive pups at the end of their walk on the beach.

Surveying the dunes

The dunes are full of interesting things to sniff and clumps of grass to investigate. They are also some very unpleasant things to be found, and true to form Harry found something. Something particularly nasty. Then he rolled in it. Twice.

If you’ve never encountered the odour of fox poop before, then count yourself very, very lucky. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about it, it’s difficult to describe, but it’s not something we ever want to smell again.

We had no alternative, we couldn’t go back with Harry looking and smelling like something out of a horror movie, so it was back to the sea for a wash. Of course the tide was out, a long way out, and when we finally got to the water’s edge, Harry was tired and didn’t want to get wet again. No amount of throwing bits of seaweed into the sea would entice him in, so there was nothing else to do, one of us had to lead the way.

I’d like to say there was a discussion, and the decision was a fair one, but it wasn’t. The North Sea? In September? You’re kidding. This was a man’s job, no doubt about it.

Steve and Harry in the sea

Needless to say, as soon as Harry was clean we were off that beach at the speed of light. And Harry was on his lead for the trip back through the dunes.

September 19, 2008

King of the Castle

Harry has recently become very adept at posing in particularly scenic locations, probably because there’s usually a treat involved. However, getting him to sit still on the beach, for even just one second, proved to be almost impossible. Bamburgh beach has to be one of the most beautiful beaches in this country, especially with the back drop of the magnificent castle, so we had what can only be called a conflict of interest.

Harry desperately wanted his treat, but on the other hand he desperately wanted to run, jump, sniff, play and do whatever else dogs do when on the beach. But Harry is part Labrador, and Labradors are always motivated by food. So the offer of a treat won and he sat, only for a millisecond, but he did sit.

On Bamburgh Beach

September 18, 2008


Harry discovered a new skill while on the beach – digging. Not the kind of digging he does at home, where he’ll dig until he finds a stone of the desired size, then stop and run into the house with his bounty, ever so pleased with himself.  No, this kind of digging was more frantic, more manic, and the purpose is still a mystery to us.

Digging a hole on the beach

Harry was having a great time digging until the waves, which were steadily creeping up the beach, suddenly swallowed up his hole, right in front of his nose. Harry was aghast, where had his hole gone? He ran round in circles a couple times, a look of complete disbelief on his face. Who had stolen it?  Where had it gone?  What happened to MY hole?

Harry started to dig another, this time with much more determination, and when eventually he was satisfied it was the right size, he laid claim to it. No one was going to steal this hole, at least not while he had his head in it.

Harry buries his head in the sand

September 16, 2008

The bigger the better

Harry had such a great time when we last took him on holiday to the beach that we had to take him back. So we packed him up and headed back to Alnmouth, Northumberland.

This time though, it looked a little different. Following all the heavy rain and flooding in the area, the beach was littered with debris, from fence panels and house bricks to large trees, all of it had been washed down river and out to sea, finally being deposited on the beach. Harry thought it was marvellous, there was just so much to investigate. When he wasn’t sniffing, he was wrestling with large pieces of seaweed, he just had so much to chose from. He finally settled on a stick. It wasn’t really a stick, more of a branch, but that didn’t bother Harry, it was his.

Harry and his stick

August 12, 2008

Play time

Harry was desperate to play with some of the working dogs we met at Windermere, and finally on our last day his wish was granted. As we took him down to the free run area for a last play before heading home, we bumped into Floyd and Magnus with their owners.

Harry was delighted and couldn’t wait to play with them, but in his excitement he’d forgotten one very important thing – they were both a lot bigger than him.

It didn’t take long for him to realise his mistake.

Floyd, Magnus and Harry

August 11, 2008

Bird watcher

A working Guide Dog should never be distracted by birds, so one of the most important lessons a puppy has to learn is not to chase them. Harry loves to watch birds, but fortunately he’s never really shown much desire to chase. Harry was paddling in the lake, just as a group of ducks swam by, so Harry waded out to have a look.

Wading in to the lake

We held out breath as Harry headed straight for them, but we needn’t have worried, he just stopped and watched. Someone was feeding them from the nearby pier, so they swam quite fast – straight past the end of his nose. Harry was fascinated by these things floating on the water, in fact we’re not even sure he knew they were birds. But he was very disappointed that, whatever they were, they didn’t stop to play.

Still wading as the ducks go by

August 8, 2008

Lord of the Manor

Harry’s had another holiday. We took him to the Lake District for a few days to stay in a hotel specifically run for people with visual impairment, their family and friends, and which provides extensive facilities for Guide Dogs. It’s a fabulous Victorian building set in beautifully landscape gardens, and has spectacular views of Lake Windermere.

Windermere Manor Hotel

Although it was a holiday, it was also a big learning experience for Harry as he was in the company of lots of working Guide Dogs. Harry was really put to the test on a number of occasions, especially in the dining room. It took all of his self control to lie still under the table at meal times when all he really wanted to do was go play with the other dogs, but after the first day when the working dogs had all ignored him, he realised that this wasn’t going to happen and started to copy their exemplary behaviour.

Harry made lots of new friends, but his particular favourite was a three year old yellow Labrador named Amélie. Amélie seemed to like Harry just as much and furiously wagged her tail whenever he was around. They had great fun playing together in the free run area of the garden and in the evenings, while we all relaxed in the bar, she would tease him relentlessly before they both settled down side by side.

Harry really enjoyed his time at hotel and felt quite at home there. He like nothing better than relaxing in the shade, lying on the porch beside the front door, like the Lord of the Manor surveying his estate.

Lounging like a lord

July 11, 2008

Beach Boy

Over the course of our holiday Harry grew more and more confident about being on the beach. By the end of the week he was truly comfortable with the sand and didn’t even mind the sea so much.

In fact, he was no longer running away from the waves and even dared to step into them one or twice, but only for a short time and only if it was really necessary.

Of course, retrieving a particularly interesting piece of seaweed from the waves was considered totally necessary…………

Entering the surf

I want it! I want it!…………

Nose in the water

Now if I can just reach it…………

Harry with his prize

Ah ha! Got it!