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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, here are my two littl'uns:


Ruth's on the left, a pure lab, and Lottie is on the right, a lab x golden retriever. Ruth joined our family recently - she is a 'failed' guide dog (wasn't confident enough), 15 months old, and we have adopted her for ever! \:D/ Lottie is 10 months and isn't actually ours, she still belongs to Guide Dogs and we are puppywalking her for them until she goes off for her advanced training in a few months' time. They get on brilliantly so far.

Looking forward to reading around the forum!
 

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Hi Swillsy,

Welcome to the site.

Ruth & Lotte are beautiful! Thanks for sharing their photos with us :D

Have fun in the forums,

Regards

Julie
 

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Hi Swillsy
Welcome, Ruth and Lottie are lovely girls. Did you puppywalk Ruth before you adopted her? Have you walked any other pups? I puppywalk for gdba too. Our first two pups are working here in Essex, currently we have pup number 4 6 month yellow pure Lab Opal with us. Also we have 22 month yellow Lab Inca who was our third gdba pup, but we've adopted her now after she had to be taken out of guide dog training due to osteochondrosis. Just to keep me busy we also have Tally our 10 month choc Lab, who has no gdba connection whatsoever (and is the most sensible!).
Clare
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks very much for the welcome - lovely to hear from another puppywalker! Lottie is the first puppy that we've had from the GDBA; Ruth was raised by someone else and had a couple of months in the training centre before they decided to rehome her. We'd love to puppywalk again at some point after Lottie's gone, though probably not straight away. We're hoping Lottie will pass her exams (though we'll be delighted to have her back if she doesn't), but have a bit of a nail-biting moment on Monday as she has an appointment with the GDBA eye specialist to check out her recurring conjunctivitis. Really hope they can sort it out for her!

We are in south-east London (which is a lot greener than most people imagine!) but I am originally an Essex girl too - Chelmsford, where my parents still live.

Sophie
 

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Hi there

Welcome! Your two are gorgeous!

Good luck for the tests.

I am based in SE London as well. Can you tell me more about puppy walking, I know it existed but didn't really get much information on it. I am just curious, how long do you keep the dogs for etc, when do you get them and isn't it difficult getting attached etc? But its such a wonderful thing to do as they serve such an important purpose.

Welcome again!
 

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Hi Sophie,
Fingers crossed for good news on Monday for Lottie, let us know what happens. It is worrying when the pups have a problem that goes on and on isn't it? Inca was x-rayed 4 times before they diagnosed OCD, every time I had to keep leaving her at the London centre and it was horrible to come home without her. Would your pws be Ron by any chance?
Clare
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
clare said:
Would your pws be Ron by any chance?
Clare
It would! I will have to tell him he has a moment of fame on labrador forums. Will definitely post on how the eye appt goes on Monday.

Amandajv - have a look on http://www.guidedogs.org.uk under 'helping us', 'volunteering', 'volunteer roles' then 'puppywalking' - it tells you all about it. It is enormous fun and has been a real education for us, too. If Lottie graduates we will be bursting with pride, though there will be more than a few tears when she goes - you are right I think it is impossible not to become very attached. At least we'll have Ruth to comfort us!
 

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Hi Amandajvv

Puppywalking for gdba is hard work at times, but it's also really rewarding. Yes, you do get attached to the pups and I don't mind admitting that I've shed a few tears when it's been time for each one of mine to leave, but I've also met the owner of my first pup and it was lovely to talk to him and hear how much of a difference she has made to his life.

When you apply to puppywalk someone from gdba comes round to see you to tell you what is involved and to check things like you have a secure garden. You can't leave the pups for more than 3 hours on their own so it's not a thing to do if everyone in the house is working full time.

The pups are placed at about 6 to 7 weeks old and you get a visit from your puppy walking supervisor every 4 to 5 weeks. GDBA pay for food costs and vet bills and supply collars and leads. The pups are with you for about a year, although with the bitches it tends to depend more on when they come into season so mine have all been 14 and 15 months before they have left for training. While you have the pups the big thing is socialisation, most shops will give you permission to take the pups in and you also do things like take them on buses and trains, into lifts, into cafes for a drink or a meal, get them used to cars... my current pup is going with me to Stansted airport on Friday. We also teach them basic obedience (sit/down/stay/wait/bed/recall etc) and when they are a bit older they can learn things like left and right, find stairs, find seat. They don't get introduced to the harness until they go back to the centre for training, but to identify them as guide dog pups we get a lead flash and a blue puppywalking jacket which you might have seen.

When they do leave you get updates from the trainers and upon them qualifying you get a photo of your pup in harness. The new owner is given the puppywalkers details, but they don't always get in touch so you have to be prepared for the fact that when the pup leaves you you might not see them again.

Anyway I could go on all day so I shall stop now! Hope all this gives you a bit more info and you might find more information on the guide dog website (there is a link to it from this site).

Clare
 

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Hi Sophie,
He has been my pws since I started puppywalking in 2001, we should tell him he is mentioned on an internet site, but just not tell him what site. He'll get all paranoid then! I managed to put a pic of my three up earlier, it's currently on the home page as the newest photo. Now I have to go and sort them out as they are all dripping wet and muddy from the mornings adventures!
Clare
 

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Hi Sophie

I see your dogs are looking as lovely as ever ! ( now let me think where have I seen them before lol )

Kev
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Clare

Thanks for asking. Not too sure really... :? A bit inconclusive. I've posted under the Health section ("Conjunctivitis - poss allergy"). The specialist thinks it's most likely an allergy to something in the house, but didn't seem worried that it might stop her being a guide dog. But I would have thought if she has a dust allergy for example that would be a problem! Anyway, we are doing a few things to reduce allergens. I am sceptical though I have to admit as she's not sneezing or itching. Someone on another forum said she'd had a similar problem with all her dogs at the same time - they seemed to keep reinfecting themselves after their eye drops had finished - and eventually her vet said to let the conjunctivitis burn itself out as long as it didn't get too bad - so she didn't treat it except by wiping tea bags on their eyes (!) and it cleared up after a few weeks. I think I might consult my own vet about that and see what he thinks. Not sure what the tea bags do!
 

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Hi Sophie,
That's the second mention of tea bags for eye problems that I have heard in two weeks! Another puppywalker was telling me that she had been bathing her dogs eyes with cold tea, not sure what the GDBA take is on it!
Sorry to hear that you didn't really get an anwer to the problem, fingers crossed it just clears up on it's own.
Clare
 

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I swear by tea bags for the eyes!! Having two dogs they are quick to swop eye infections - when one gets it the other does to. So any watery eye problems, winter 'colds' in the eyes etc have always been solved by me bathing/ wiping their eyes with teabags. Make sure to use a tea bag for each of them so as not to swop germs.

I put a teabag in a little saucer pour a bit of boiling water over it (as if to make tea) and let it cool. Wipe over eyes. Works well for minor eye problems.
 
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