WARWICKSHIRE, England — It’s back to school for these adorable 7-week-old puppies, who are heading to their first day of class to become life-changing guide dogs, after their successful pre-education lessons.
The pups are just a handful of the thousands raised each year by dedicated staff volunteers at the Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre (NBC), near Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
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The sweet pups will be driven all over the U.K. where each dog will be placed with volunteer walkers for 18 months of intensive training. The programme will follow the puppy until he/she is ready to train as a guide dog. Over the next year and a half, the dogs will be learning everything from training basics around the house to being able to deal with the sights and sounds of a busy city centre and finally the guiding tasks that will help keep their new blind or partially sighted owner safe.
One lucky puppy from the NBC made her television debut this week on “This Morning” where she met hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield. The programme will follow the puppy until she’s ready to train as a guide dog.
Every month, the NBC raises about 100 puppies that will eventually go on to help one of the almost two million people in the U.K. living with sight loss. With no age limit for guide dog ownership, some children will be returning to school with their guide dog by their side. Most of the guide dogs at the NBC are Golden Retriever-Labrador crosses.