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Frequently Asked Questions
People are always asking us interesting questions about our Sponsor a Puppy scheme. That's why we've chosen to answer as many of them as possible here. Of course, if there's anything else you'd like to know please simply email the SAP Enquiries team.
How easy is it to Sponsor a Guide Dog Puppy?
Very. Simply follow the link of the appropriate Sponsor a Puppy and complete your details online! You'll then be helping to fund the training of a guide dog puppy, until he/she is matched with a future owner.
Am I the only person sponsoring this guide dog puppy?
It costs a great deal of money to train a guide dog puppy, so we wouldn't expect you to fund the total cost by yourself. That's why we operate a co-sponsorship scheme, giving you and other people the opportunity to fund this guide dog puppy's training as well as further areas of our vital work. It's a bit like the puppy having an extended family!
How will I keep in touch with my puppy's progress?
We want to make your guide dog puppy sponsorship a really worthwhile experience. So we'll send you regular photos and Pupdates on how your guide dog puppy is progressing. Plus, when you join, you'll also receive a special photo card of your puppy, a photo album, a window sticker and a certificate in your name as well as an exclusive calendar.
Will I be able to meet my puppy?
Unfortunately not. It's important that each guide dog puppy concentrates fully on its training with minimal distractions. However, please remember that you'll be kept in touch every step of the way with some great photos and fascinating Pupdates.
When will I receive my first Pupdate?
You will receive Pupdates every few months.
How often will I receive Pupdates about my guide dog puppy?
You will receive six Pupdates every few months, together with a photo showing how your guide dog puppy has grown.
Can I sponsor more than one guide dog puppy if I increase my donation?
Certainly. We have a number of guide dog puppies for you to choose from at the moment and we'll be introducing more to the scheme in the future.
How long does guide dog puppy sponsorship take?
24 months. So you'll have a nice length of time to 'get to know' your guide dog puppy and their owner once they graduate.
If I'm buying two gifts, how do I ensure that I'm giving to two different puppies?
It's simple. Just follow the Sponsor a Puppy link and follow the options outlined on the donation page.
How do you name the puppies?
As you can imagine, we've worked with a great many puppies over the years. So, in order to avoid confusion, we name them alphabetically e.g. puppies from the first litter of the year are given names starting with the letter 'A' e.g. Aaron, Alvin, Amy, Annie etc.
Can I name a guide dog puppy?
Yes. If you make a donation or raise (with your friends and family) £5,000 or more you can give one of our guide dog puppies a name. Please call 0800 953 0113 for further information or visit our Name a Puppy pages.
What happens after 24 months?
Your guide dog puppy will have graduated as a fully qualified guide dog and will be living with his/her new owner. We will send you a Pupdate with information on their new partnership. The good news is that the story doesn't need to stop there! That's because we'd love to offer you another puppy to sponsor and will write to you with its details.
What happens at graduation?
Graduation will take place after around 20 months of training, we will then carefully match your guide dog puppy with their blind or partially sighted owner. After several weeks of training together, they will be partnered for approximately seven years.
What happens if my guide dog puppy doesn't graduate?
Don't worry. Training to become a guide dog is very hard work, so it's perfectly natural for some dogs not to meet our high standards. However, our success rate is one of the highest in the world and around seven out of ten trainee puppies do successfully become guide dogs. If your puppy doesn't graduate and isn't suitable to become a working dog for another charity or organisation, it will be rehomed with a loving family. However, rest assured that we will always offer you a new puppy to sponsor.
Where will you use my money?
All your donations will help provide independence and freedom for blind and partially sighted people. Right now, we'll put your money to use where it is needed most - from paying for puppy food through to funding training and covering veterinary bills. You can be certain that it'll make a big difference and be very gratefully received. It's especially important when you consider that the guide dog service receives no government funding and relies entirely on voluntary donations and legacies to deliver its services.
How much does it cost to train a guide dog?
It costs £32,400 to train a guide dog partnership. This covers the first two years – from birth to graduation. After then, it costs £12,800 to support the working partnership.
How can I pay for my puppy sponsorship?
The easiest way is to set up a monthly Direct Debit for as little as £5 a month. Just fill in the online sign-up form and we'll do the rest. Alternatively, you can make a one-off payment of £104.
Will my guide dog puppy have to work all its life?
No. When out of harness, your guide dog puppy will behave like a regular pet dog. After approximately seven years it will then be retired to a loving new home or stay with their guide dog owner as a pet.
When will I stop paying the Direct Debit?
Your donations will be taken on a monthly basis. When your puppy is happily matched and settled in with his or her guide dog owner, we'll write to see whether you'd like to sponsor another one. You can, of course, cancel your sponsorship at any time by writing or calling 0800 953 0113 to let us know.
I've heard that I can make my donations worth even more
If you're a UK taxpayer all you need to do is click on the Gift Aid box to confirm that you wish Guide Dogs to claim Gift Aid on all donations you have made in the last four calendar years until further notice. To qualify for Gift Aid you must pay an amount of UK income and or capital gains tax equal to the amount we reclaim on your donations in that tax year. Please notify us if your tax circumstances change. Thank you.
Do you always use Labrador puppies for your guide dogs?
The most widely used breed for guiding is a Labrador/retriever cross, but we also use other breeds, including German shepherds.
Back in the day, we referred to guide dogs as 'blind dogs'. Is this the same thing?
Yes. Whilst some people colloquially referred to them as 'blind dogs', the actual term has always been 'Guide Dogs for the Blind Association'.
I am a teacher, can my school/class sponsor a puppy?
Yes you can. Through our Sponsor a Puppy @ School scheme your school or class has the opportunity to sponsor a class of three guide dog puppies for £300. You will receive a wallchart to track your pups' progress, pupdates, teaching resources and class activity sheets along with freebies for every child.