Four legged Faith spreads festive cheer

Oh come all ye Faith-ful!That is the prayer from a charity today which is pleading for generous Evening Star readers to make another blind person joyful and triumphant this Christmas.

SUFFOLK: Oh come all ye Faith-ful!

That is the prayer from a charity today which is pleading for generous Evening Star readers to make another blind person joyful and triumphant this Christmas.

Our appeal, launched last year with guide dog Star, has been so successful there was enough money not only for a second pup, Faith, but is just �1,000 short of being able to train a third.

Now Guide Dogs for the Blind is hoping the season of good cheer will be enough to make it a reality - which came a step closer yesterday when the Masonic Group from Aldeburgh donated �370 to the fund.

Volunteer trainer Penny Parker, who is currently looking after ten-week-old Faith, said: “We would love to have enough money by Christmas.

“We are heavily promoting sponsoring a puppy because we are now giving guide dogs to people under 18 years of age. We need more guide dogs than ever before.”

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Mrs Parker has been kept busy with Faith since taking the pup into her home in Western Avenue, Old Felixstowe, last month.

After giving Mrs Parker lots of sleepless nights, Faith has now settled into a routine and is developing well. She has even been to her first visit to the dentist.

Mrs Parker said: “She sleeps through the night now. She is like a human baby except you can't always placate her with food because she is only allowed four feeds a day.

“She is a lot bouncier and more inquisitive than before. She is getting the hang of toilet training and has learnt to sit on command.”

Eventually Faith, a Retriever/ Labrador cross, will hopefully mother potential guide puppies, as Star has gone on to do, or become a fully-fledged guide dog.

Have you been helped by a guide dog? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

HOW YOU CAN HELP

If you are fundraising for Guide Dogs for the Blind, please contact Richard Cornwell on the Felixstowe Newsdesk on 01394 284109 so we can help publicise your event.

To donate, please send cheques - made payable to the Guide Dogs - to Richard Cornwell, Evening Star, 172 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, IP11 7DU.

FASTFACTS: Trainee guide dogs

Faith is one of 1,000 guide dog puppies the association will breed this year. Most of them are Labrador/Retriever crosses.

Over the next 12 months, Faith will be exposed to as many different experiences as possible.

She will be taken to busy town centres, noisy crowds, across roads, school corridors and playgrounds, theatres and shops - anywhere a blind person might need to go.

She will also go on bus and train trips to ensure she is comfortable with public transport.

Mrs Parker will also teach her to walk ahead on the leash - not “to heel” - as a guide dog does, and obey simple commands such as “sit”, “down”, “stay” and “come”.