A report by ICWO Pisano
"On an extremely wet Saturday morning twenty-six 241 Sqn cadets ventured into the pouring rain to walk the 15 minute journey to the London Guide dog Centre based just down the road in Woodford. The visit was organised in conjuction with the squadron sponsoring three Guide Dog puppies, one for each main flight, for the next 20 months and would allow the cadets to see how the money they raise for the charity goes to a great cause. All money raised is through fundraising and volunteers, the government does not contribute at all.
Arriving at the centre somewhat damp and soggy, the we were introduced to the centre and the many volunteers available to take us on tours. Splitting down into smaller groups we were taken around the centre as the volunteers explained in great depth of how the Guide Dogs are trained right from birth to working adult dog, how they are cared for and what the charity does for many visually impaired people.
Touring the kennels where the dogs of various breeds (including a labourdoodle, a cross Labourador and Poodle!) ate, slept and played the cadets were able to stroke these beautiful gentle dogs as they sniffed and licked their hands.
As well as the hard work the dogs have to do during their training, they are also giving lots of time to be their doggy-selves and are giving the freedom to roam around in a playpen full of obstacles and lots of space for them to run around.
The care and attention these dogs receive is evident from the hard work and dedication of all the volunteers and the imaculate conditions of the dogs. Some of the workers there have volunteered at the centre for over 20 years!
Returning from the kennels a visually-impaired speaker, Tony made time to talk to us about his life being blind since birth and his experiences with his guide dog Walter. It was fascinating to listen to him talk about how he copes with everyday life and heart-wrenching to know he has gained his independence through the training his dog Walter has received. It was wholesome to see how his life was so normal, complete with a wife (also visually-impaired) and two daughters, both sighted however, who live together as a family.
The guide dogs, and all the people who dedicate their time to helping others unfortunate enough not to have vision are truely remarkable and I thank them for allowing us cadets to roam around and gain a better insight into the great things this charity achieves.
You can also help the squadron do more for the Guide Dogs by collecting all your empty printer cartridges and/or any old mobile phones you no longer use to donate them to the Guide Dog charity to help them raise money. Many thanks for all your support! "
The photo shows Cdt Joy Dutch meeting one of the dogs.