Malcolm Gray Optometrists raise £2000 for Guide Dogs UK
Here at Malcolm Gray, we have recently been busy raising funds for one of our favourite charities, Guide Dogs UK. We are proud to have raised a fantastic £2000 during February 2019 and we had the enormous pleasure of handing over this cheque to Becky, one of the trainers for Sutton Guide Dogs.
Becky has trained many Guide Dog puppies over the last few years and came to visit us with the very handsome Hooch, who is a six-year-old ex training Guide Dog who stole pretty much every heart in the practice!
Training a Guide Dog, as you can imagine, is not an easy task! It takes around two years from birth to graduation and costs a whopping £55,000 to do so. So how is this much needed funding spent?
The puppies begin life with their Mum and siblings, spending their first few weeks doing what all tiny pups like to do – playing, sleeping and exploring the world around them before heading off to the state of the art Guide Dog breeding centre for their vital health checks and immunisations when they reach six weeks old.
At seven weeks, the pups move into their Puppy Walkers homes and begin basic training – simple commands such as “sit”, how to walk on the lead and learning the all important puppy manners. They will stay with their walker until they are approximately one-year-old, spending time getting used to their surroundings, for instance busy shopping areas, different modes of transport and socialising with other dogs and people.
Their next adventure now takes them to Guide Dog Training school! This takes the training up a notch and begins to teach the pups the guiding skills they will need in their role as Guide Dogs, such as navigating kerbs and obstacles. They are also given their brown training harness and start to work closely with a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor who brings all the aspects of the training together.
This is also when the “matching process” starts in earnest, finding a blind or partially sighted individual whose life will be transformed by the skills the Guide Dog has learnt over the past two years. The dogs are matched to their new owners and quickly settle into their new life together.
It goes without saying just what a difference Guide Dogs make to a blind or partially sighted person and just how vital fundraising is to the charity. Those of us who have pets know all too well the costs and effort involved but there is so much more to learn in qualifying as a Guide Dog. Special diets are required, harnesses, lots of exercise and lessons to learn, all preparing them for the incredible role they grow to fulfil – becoming the eyes for a blind or partially sighted person.
Caring about eyes as we do, we are thrilled to know that we have helped in a small way and learnt so much by meeting Becky and Hooch. If you are interested in helping fundraise for Guide Dogs or even becoming a volunteer, simply take a look at the website – www.guidedogs.org.uk.