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- John and guide dog Vinko – true partnership
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As his puppy raisers’ new baby cried, poor Sloan didn’t know what to make of it.
What was that noise? Was the child in danger? Shouldn’t everyone be worried? Should he check it out? Surely the humans could hear this?
Sloan, just a puppy himself, was very concerned whenever the new baby cried. He’d go to the bassinet and sit there and not want to leave. It’s the natural protective instinct and Sloan has it in spades.
Learning that this is normal baby behaviour and nothing to be worried about is one of the many things that a guide dog puppy like Sloan has to learn.
Now nearly a year old, Sloan takes the baby’s cries in his stride. He’s smart. He’s learned when it matters and when it doesn’t, along with many other things he’s become familiar with during his 1st year of guide dog training.
These days he’s no longer a little puppy – although he still thinks he is and lumbers around without realising he’s now actually quite big! He’s picking up new skills fast, learning about life in the office, discovering bus etiquette and enjoying having all the family home during lockdown, even if it means he can’t go to as many fun places. But don’t worry – summer is coming and he just loves the rockpools down at the beach.
Tori’s growing into a lovely dog. She’s intelligent and sensible. Her puppy raisers are exposing her to as many experiences as possible. A trip to the snow saw her get her toes icy. She was an angel on the long, nine hour drive and thoroughly enjoyed her stay in a hotel at the end of the road trip.
Tori’s best friend at home is the family cat. They’ll play in the garden for hours. She recently enjoyed a birthday – especially the special treats she got!
This adorable ball of fluff is Ivan, one of a litter of 8 standard poodle puppies now part of the guide dog programme.
It’s not common to see poodles as guide dogs so he’s sure to attract attention when he and his siblings get out and about.
Ivan recently joined his puppy raiser family and is loving all his new toys and the cuddles and attention he’s receiving. He loves playing in the backyard and flopping down for a nap when he’s tired.
Lockdown has meant he hasn’t had a lot of outings yet, but his puppy raisers say he’s walking well on the lead and has already learned to sit and stay on command – even when there’s food involved! Good boy Ivan.
Becoming a guide dog sadly doesn’t suit every dog, no matter how carefully they are bred and trained. Some of them just don’t suit the incredibly high standards needed to guide someone with low vision, and the lovely Fergus has fallen into this category.
When it came down to the hard testing, with blindfolded trainers assessing his work, Fergus proved not to have the temperament needed to reliably keep his handler safe. He just didn’t have the concentration and sense of responsibility needed to place someone’s safety and wellbeing in his paws.
But we believe that Fergus’ talents may be put to use elsewhere, and we’re hoping that another service dog organisation may find a role that suits his skills. In the meantime he’s having a happy holiday with a family he knows well and he will always be very well loved and looked after.