Latest news from Puppy Rearer, Margaret Atkins

I am pleased to report that we now have our sixth Seeing Dog puppy. He is a pure black Labrador and he came to live with us in June. He is called Willow, which often confuses people as they tend to assume that to be a girl’s name. He was a bit unwell for the first few weeks but after some excellent treatment from our vet he has made a full recovery.

Willow is now a very lively and clever little puppy. Sometimes, I feel that he is actually training me as he walks very quickly and, because I am quite short, I sometimes struggle to keep up with him. Then, often without warning, he will suddenly stop and look straight into my eyes with a look that seems to say, “If you want me to move then you have to give me a treat.” He thinks every person or dog that we pass when we are out are all his friends, and he wants to say hello to them. As a consequence, most people fall in love with him because of his happy and friendly disposition and beautiful appearance.

Compared with our previous puppies, Willow is quite small for his age but is very cuddly and playful. He has excellent recall, which is brilliant as we can let him run free and play with other dogs yet be fully confident that he will come back immediately when we call, “Willow – Come” followed, of course, by giving him the obligatory treat! However, we have to remember to keep the bathroom door closed as he has so far run off round the house with no less than three toilet rolls – just like the famous Andrex puppy!

We are so pleased to have Willow to puppy raise. Georgie, our previous puppy, is now well into his formal training with Sue, and we hope that he will qualify sometime next year.

All of the Seeing Dogs puppies that we have had have brought so much joy to our lives and it means so much to us that they can change the lives of the visually impaired people they go to when they qualify. Even at this early stage we are optimistic that Willow will go on to make a great Seeing Dog for someone.