“ Sponsor a guide dog. „
After visiting Crufts last year where there was a display about Guide Dogs my mind was made up about Sponsoring a Puppy.
I've always had a soft spot for Guide Dogs as you see them out and about whilst they are working day to day doing their thing, but the more you learn about what they actually have to learn in their training the more respect you get for them.
Firstly, I learned at Crufts that a Guide Dog can differentiate between when it is working (when it has its sash/ uniform on) when when it is off duty. They demonstrated this by making a Guide Dog wearing its sash walk across through normal mock up obstacle with the person it was guiding. Then they took the Guid Dog's sash off and threw a ball and the dog turned into a normal scampering floppy-eared ball-fetching tail-wagging doggie. I was blown away.
I went online and signed up to the Sponsor a Puppy appeal. For under £5 a month you receive a glossy photo of a puppy newly entered into the training academy plus updates for the duration of its training. The recommended time to continue your sponsorship is 18 months so its a good idea to think about if you can keep up your monthly donations for 18 months.
I've had two Pupdates, a window sticker, a certificate and two photos of my puppy and i've only held the sponsorship for around three months now.
Certainly a worthy cause and value for money. Good for the whole family for an unusual gift or just for something charitable you fancy doing.
A while ago I returned home from shopping to be greeted by my husband who informed me that he had 'got' a puppy for our daughters! I looked at him with somewhat dismay, especially as I am not the greatest dog lover in the world and anyway, didn't we discuss things like this before going ahead! Luckily, before I exploded, he explained that we were actually going to be sponsoring a puppy who was going to be trained to be a guide dog.
Apparently someone had called at the door obviously hoping to drum up some interest. He must have been quite persuasive as generally we try to get rid of any cold callers very quickly. Anyway, he showed my husband a leaflet showing how it all worked and saying that for only £6 a month we could sponsor a puppy. My husband thought that as that might be the closest we ever get to owning our own dog, that might appeal to our daughters.
He had not definitely agreed to anything at this stage so he phoned the fundraiser who had knocked at the door. He returned with the direct debit forms to fill in and then we were all set. My husband also explained to the girls that although we weren't going to be getting our own dog, we would be sponsoring a puppy who would live with and help someone else who could not see. After the initial disappointment that the puppy was not going to be living with us, they decided that they really liked the idea.
They particularly liked the idea that we would get regular updates and photos about our puppy so we would know what he or she looked like and how they were getting on. However, we sort of forgot about this until the other day when, along with a host of other post, an envelope dropped through the door addressed to Rachel and Natalie. They were so excited when they opened it up to discover a photo of Winnie - yes that's her name - and a certificate recognising that they were sponsoring her. There was also a thank you letter telling us a bit about Winnie and reminding us that they will keep in touch over the next twenty months with regular 'pupdates'!
The photo of Winnie (apparently her first photo) is absolutely gorgeous and the girls love showing it to all their friends. It comes in a card frame so that it is possible to stand it up. Indeed it has pride of place in our living room at the moment! We also had some bookmarks and a puppy window sticker to put in the car. The girls are also extremely proud of their certificate which says:
Guide Dogs certificate presented to Rachel and Natalie.
Thank you for sponsoring Winnie who is training to be a guide dog and give the gift of independence to a blind or partially-sighted person.
I like the way that the certificate explains this and helps them to understand what Winnie is going to be doing and why it is so important to sponsor her care.
We have not received our first pupdate yet but the letter states that it will be arriving in June so we will all be looking forward to finding out how she is doing. We will also be receiving a free puppy calendar at the end of the year which will be featuring some of the trainees. We are already hoping that Winnie will be one of the puppies featured!
I think that this is an excellent scheme that does not ask for a huge contribution each month and it is helping to introduce the concept of helping others to our daughters. As £6 is such a small amount there will be other people sponsoring Winnie too but it does feel very meaningful for us to have an interest in our own puppy!
To find out so much more you can visit the website at
This gives a fabulous amount of information and the girls particularly like looking at the section on training. On these pages they can work out what Winnie is likely to be doing when and also play some games that help to understand the training. There are also stories about the people looking after the puppies and there are also a number of frequently asked questions that explains so much about how it all works.
I feel that this is a very worthwhile scheme and particularly because we are able to involve our daughters. I like the fact that it is transparent how the money is spent and because we will receive the pupdates we will often be thinking about our Winnie!