Trainers have plenty of faith in Star guide dog’s progress

FELIXSTOWE: Trainee guide dog Faith has been given a good report – showing she is making excellent progress as she looks forward to her role in life.

The eight-month-old pup, whose breeding and initial training has been paid for thanks to Evening Star readers’ generosity, is assessed regularly to make sure she is getting to grips with the outside world and learning the basics before she goes on to her next stage of training and eventually to be the eyes of a blind or visually-impaired person.

This week Faith visited the staff at Titchmarsh and Goodwin cabinet makers, in Back Hamlet, Ipswich, to receive �1,000 for the Star’s appeal for the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity.

The staff contributed the money as part of regular charity giving, the cash being taken from their wages each month.

Puppy walker Penny Parker, who is looking after Faith during her first year, said: “It was a wonderful surprise because I had no idea how much the staff had raised – we cannot thank them enough for their generous donation.”

The puppy’s latest progress report shows she is sleeping well, is fit and healthy, has all her adult teeth and a good appetite, is responding well to commands and happily wears her puppy coat.

There is still work to do over the next few months, especially on her social skills, getting used to different environments, such as playgrounds full of children, crowded shops and streets, theatres and cinemas, all sorts of sudden noises, and bus and train travel, and these are being practised regularly.

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“She is doing really well but you have to take her to these places again and again until she is completely comfortable with each experience,” said Mrs Parker.

“Faith is very happy socialising with other dogs and is having regular trips on trains and buses.

“At the moment she is having a few problems with the new surfaces in Hamilton Road – the removal of the kerbs has thrown her a bit and she keeps looking round for the traffic all the time!”

Catherine Wells, of Guide Dogs, said: “The skills that she learns this year will form the vital foundations for the guiding work that she will do in earnest once she leaves her puppy walker and heads to one of our national training schools for her further training.”

n Are you planning to support efforts for the guide dog appeal? 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

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