Most puppies are destined to be a beloved pet and a best friend but some are born with a very important to do.
And as children found out when they met guide puppy ‘Zippy’ in Horncastle Library last Friday, the Guide Dogs provide the blind and partially sighted with invaluable support.
But, as Woodhall Spa based ‘puppy walkers’ Carol and Tony Jose know, it takes a lot of time and dedication to train these incredible pups.
The couple recently starred in ITVs ‘Me and My Guide Dog’, a two-part documentary following a litter of guide dogs to be from their birth, through their training and until their final pairing with the owners they will assist in their everyday lives.
Tony and Carol have acted as volunteer puppy walkers for Guide Dogs since 2001 and Zippy is the thirteenth dog they have trained.
From taking the puppies home at six weeks old, they are then responsible for their care and training until they reach thirteen months of age.
Tony said: “We got into it when we lost our own dog. Zippy is our thirteenth puppy and we’ve had no problems with him.
“He is proving very laid back and easy, which is the kind of temperament guide dogs are bred for.
“He shares our life with us.”
The couple are the only puppy walkers in Lincolnshire and the dogs they train head off all over the country - and as far afield as Germany.
Being a Guide Dogs volunteer is an important job as Guide Dogs need to train 1, 500 puppies a year.
Tony said: ““These pups are going on to do a great job. When you see them further down the line with their owners it’s wonderful.”
○ For more information visit www.guidedogs.org.uk