A 'Starr' Was Born
73 days ago
Saturday 6 October sees the start of Guide Dog Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness and help for the wonderful Guide Dogs charity.
In 2016 the teams here at Blackpool Transport chose to support Guide Dogs for The Blind as the yearly company charity. The aim was simple, we wanted to raise enough money to sponsor a puppy so that they could be trained as a working guide dog. If we managed to raise enough, we were also able to name the sponsored puppy.
During the year we worked closely with the Guide Dogs charity who even attended training sessions with our staff, teaching them of the obstacles and challenges those with a visual impairment face using public transport.
(Pictured - Sally and Yoko the Guide Dog)
We managed to raise the funds needed for our guide dog puppy and ‘Starr’ began her journey to become a fully trained guide dog.
Starr started her training in 2017 and her puppy training came to an end in March this year. During her puppy training she showed a nose for exploring and spent time with her ‘puppy walker’ to learn the ropes and develop the concentration required to be an assistance dog. These were skills that Starr took on board very well, even reigning in her ‘soft spot’ for pigeons!
Following her puppy training Starr then graduated to attend one of the Guide Dogs National Training Centres. Guide Dogs usually spend around 16 weeks with a guide dog trainer, learning the foundation tasks required of a guide dog. They then transfer to a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor for about 10 weeks during which time they are matched with a person with sight loss.
Every person and dog is unique, so matching a guide dog to an owner is a complex and carefully managed process, guide dog trainers take into account a persons needs – walking speed, height and lifestyle – and look for a dog that will be a good match.
The total cost involved with breeding, training a guide dog partnership is £44,000 and they cannot do it without the help of volunteers and people's generosity.
We’re happy to say that in our latest update we've been told our very own Starr is now a fully trained guide dog and is now helping somebody with a visual impairment enjoy life with freedom and independence. Well done Starr!