Housing developer sponsors guide dog for school pupils to follow

YOUNGSTERS at a primary school will get the chance to follow a guide dog puppy during its 20-month training course after a housebuilder offered to sponsor the dog on their behalf.

Dunmow St Mary’s Primary School, in Great Dunmow, school will receive ‘pupdates’ and pictures of the young Labrador in training, right up until certification.

The puppy, which has yet to be chosen, is being sponsored by local housebuilder David Wilson Homes Eastern, which is building a range of family homes at a new development in the town.

The project is part of an ongoing programme of engagement between the charity, the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and Dunmow St Mary’s Primary School pupils, who last week were treated to a special assembly where they received a talk from guide dog puppy trainer, Gillian Bane, and got to meet her puppy, Buckie.

Mrs Bane, a volunteer from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said: “My job is to get guide dog puppies used to calmness and control in their first year. They then go into the training programme where they learn more advanced skills. We really appreciate the support from David Wilson Homes, guide dogs are important for those who are visually impaired, giving them the freedom to live as independently as possible.

“Buckie is a lovely dog and he really loves kids and the kids always make a fuss over him too. It’s important to talk to children about blindness, getting across the message that ‘disabled’ doesn’t mean ‘incapable’, and that the visually impaired just have slightly different skills and capabilities”.

St Mary’s headteacher Val White added: “It was a good experience for the children to meet Gillian and her guide dog puppy and I know that the children really learned how essential a guide dog’s work is. They are very excited to be given the opportunity to be part of this project.

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Rebecca Littler, Sales Director for David Wilson Homes Eastern commented: “The David Wilson Homes logo is a Golden Retriever because many years ago we sponsored a guide dog puppy called Wilson. Our staff are passionate about supporting this charity whenever we can and we are therefore very pleased to be helping.”

To find out for information about The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association visit guidedogs.org.uk. For information about the new homes being built by David Wilson Homes on Rosemary Lane please call 08445 566155 or visit dwh.co.uk.