The joys of puppy rearing, by Seeing Dogs’ puppy rearer, Margaret Atkins

Andy is the third puppy that we have reared for Seeing Dogs Alliance.

He is by far the smallest puppy that we have reared and currently weighs only 23Kg, despite the fact that he is now 11 months old and fully grown. He has so much character, and is clever, alert and enthusiastic. He is blessed with an amazing memory to return to places where has perhaps been once or twice previously!

He always gets a lot of attention from people, young and old, because they find him so handsome. Our three-year-old granddaughter adores him, and they play together like siblings (although she is always the boss). If there were ever to be a Mr Men book for dogs about him, his character name would be “Mr Wiggly Bottom” as he wiggles and wags his tail constantly because he is just so happy.

He recently came to the Komedia theatre in Brighton with us, which, as the name suggests, is a venue for stand-up comedians. It is quite a noisy and dark venue where the audience sits around large tables. Andy took it all in his stride by quietly sleeping through the entire performance – clearly not appreciating the hilarious jokes! Elsewhere, he is very well behaved in busy centres such as Brighton and I barely notice him when I am out doing the shopping. (Sometimes, Andy is even far better behaved on shopping trips than my husband Chris!)

We think that once Andy starts his formal training with John that he has the potential to become a truly outstanding Seeing Dog. He is an all-round little sweetheart (I mean Andy, not John!), It is an absolute joy for us to be a part of Andy’s training and we shall miss him greatly when he starts the next phase of his adventure.