Star gets a tough baptism

IT'S a tough life having to go to work when you're only seven weeks old!But for trainee guide dog Star it's just another day at the office - and another new experience which will hold her in good stead.

IT'S a tough life having to go to work when you're only seven weeks old!

But for trainee guide dog Star it's just another day at the office - and another new experience which will hold her in good stead.

The Evening Star has launched an appeal to raise £10,000 to pay for the training of the cuddly puppy to turn her into a guide dog who will be the eyes of her visually-impaired owner.

As part of her first year of training, Star - named after Britain's Daily Newspaper of the Year - has to get used to a wide range of different experiences and situations.

Most days she is going to work with her puppy walker Penny Parker, who works at Computing Needs in Manor Road, Felixstowe.

“It's just another experience for her - a different environment, where she will get used to different people and sounds, a new building, visitors coming and going, doors opening and closing, and boxes everywhere.

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“She's not the only dog either so she has to get used to others, and there is also an office cat, Chester, who is really in charge.

“So far Star has not been fazed at all by any of it.

“She knows where to go to the toilet, where her water bowl is and a lot of the time is sleeping.”

The other staff made an initial fuss of her but now Star just spends her time getting used to the workplace atmosphere.

Her programme over the next 12 months will include many new experiences - busy town centres, noisy crowds, children, sudden sounds, crossing roads, public transport, going in and out of buildings - and she will have to prove she can cope with them all.

After that she will go on to more intensive and disciplined training before she goes to a visually-impaired owner.

Companies, groups and organisations are being encouraged to hold fundraising events to support the appeal and help pay for Star's training by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and people can also send in donations.

If you are organising a fundraising event for the appeal, then we want to can give it maximum publicity and help boost the amount raised - get in touch with Richard Cornwell at the Felixstowe Newsdesk on 01394 284109.

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

Has your family been helped by the Guide Dogs - tell us your stories about this amazing charity: write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk