Golden retriever Lottie is not your average puppy; in fact, she’s currently in the middle of specialist training that will hopefully see her become a life-changing guide dog.
Lottie is one of nine puppies born into the first ever fully-funded guide dog litter. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery means Lottie is getting ready to help one of the approximately 170,000 blind or partially sighted people in Scotland lead a fulfilling, independent life. This number is increasing and by 2025, Guide Dogs estimates there will be 200,000 people in Scotland living with sight loss.
Lottie is currently being cared for by her Guide Dogs volunteer puppy walker in Edinburgh, who takes her on daily expeditions to get her used to a variety of different smells, sights, sounds in and around the city.
Lottie also attends regular Guide Dog puppy classes alongside her sister Bella and other puppies in training. Here the puppies are encouraged to interact and play, but it’s not all fun and games. They also work on recall, how to walk to heel, learn basic commands and other vital skills they’ll need as a guide dog.
It’s important that Lottie feels comfortable in the range of different environments and situations she may encounter when she qualifies. Fun activities like walking through play tunnels help Lottie to grow in confidence for when she finds herself in crowded environments and tight spaces.
When she’s around a year old, Lottie will enrol in the Guide Dogs Training School in Forfar. After around a year of further expert training, she will graduate and be ready to change the life of someone with sight loss.
Donna Beetham, national corporate partnerships manager at Guide Dogs said:
“It costs more than £55,000 to breed and train a young puppy to become a fully confident guide dog – to help someone with sight loss to have the confidence and support they need to live independently. Thank you players, for supporting our life-changing work”.
To find out more about Guide Dogs visit: www.guidedogs.org.uk