Guide dogs for the blind 20 May 2015

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Meeting – 20th May 2015

Guide Dogs - Reading Mobility Team

Talk by Robin Macleay

Robin was accompanied by Ella with her guide dog Wendy.

Robin described how the Reading Team covered 5 counties Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Wes t Sussex where some 285 dogs are in service. He briefly described the profiling and training of dogs from selection as 5 week old puppies through house training to formal training as guide dogs and final selection of master/mistress. The overall cost of bringing a dog into full service was upwards of £55k. Reading Mobility required £355k per annum to carry out its tasks.

Robin quickly handed over to Ella who described the rigorous process of selection, training and experience of life with Wendy. At an early age meningitis had left her partially sighted and in need of a suitable guide dog. She had been “on the books” from the age of 15 years but had to wait until she was 18 before Wendy was confirmed as the suitable guide dog.

Ella then demonstrated how, through commands and responses by Wendy, she is now able to livean independent life.

J E Neale