Dogs lead the way for charity

Dogs have been let off the leash at a charity fund-raising event today.

Owners talked to the students about their experiences and offered them the chance to interact with their dogs at the University of Sheffield Guide Dogs Society’s display.

The event raised money for the non-government funded charity ‘Guide Dogs for the Blind’ as well as the student-run ‘Raising and Giving’ committee (RAG).

A guide dog typically costs £55,000 to look after for ten years. The charity covers training courses, special food and vet bills, with the dogs having to visit the vet every 6 months.

Kimberley Jones, 32, from Mansfield, has had an eye condition called congenital glaucoma since she was born and relied on her cane to keep her safe.

A few years ago she got herself a guide dog, Darby the Labradoodle, who is three next week.

She said: “Darby has helped boost my confidence so much, he has helped me get to my self-defence classes which involves travelling on the tram and he’s always so well behaved.”

The dogs are typically taken from their mothers when they are eight months old and it takes about 18 months for them to become fully qualified guide dogs.

Jonathan, another guide dog user that was at the event, developed retinitis which meant that he was slowly losing his vision.

He said: “Having Rocket around makes me forget about my condition and really takes the stress away from everyday life.”

‘Guide Dogs for the Blind’ holds events like these all over the country from primary schools to ladies’ meetings. They believe that  these events are a great way of getting young people involved in their work by becoming fund raisers or guide dog trainers.

 

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