Sheila volunteers as a puppy socialiser on a weekly basis, at Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre. Her role is to play with, and socialise, litters of 6 week old guide dog puppies before each pup goes to its own puppy walker.They spend up to 13 months with their puppy walker family and then move on for their second, and last, year of advanced training. It costs approximately £50,000 to train each guide dog. Every fully qualified dog will be paired with its new owner when it is about two years old. Guide dogs typically work for 7 years before retirement.
Most guide dogs are Labradors (both black and yellow), there are however some Golden Retrievers and occasionally German Shepherds.
If you want to read more about Guide Dogs and the breeding programme click here and scroll through to read an article in the National Breeding Centre Newsletter (March 2020 edition) entitled Gentleman Gene. Gene is a German Shepherd stud dog who lives with Vicki (a member of team Sapphire) and her family. Sheila see’s Gene on a regular basis and some pups from his first litter (featured in the pictures below) were also socialised by Sheila at the National Breeding Centre