A very Yappy Mother's Day

21 Mar 2016

We celebrated Mother's Day this year by treating one of our amazing guide dog Mums to a pamper day at our National Breeding Centre in Leamington Spa.

Kelly, a black Labrador received a relaxing bubble bath and treats as she had a break from caring for her litter of eight black and yellow pups.

Kelly is just one of 250 guide dog mums (brood bitches) and 90 guide dog dads (stud dogs) in the UK who themselves are cared for by an army of loving volunteers.

David Hurst, head of the National Breeding Centre, said Kelly and the other mum dogs and the volunteers that looked after them were vital for the success of the centre.

Our guide dog service relies on donations from individuals to continue its life-changing work.

It costs around £50,000 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement.

Kelly laying down with her black and golden puppies jumping on her

David said: "We can breed up to 1,500 puppies a year, it's all based on the needs of the people we support, approximately two out of every three will go on the qualify as a life changing guide dog.

"Most of the pups are born at the homes of our volunteers and they will stay with mum until they are six weeks old.

"They come into the centre and we socialise them and give them all their health checks as well as profile assessment which tells us something about their individual characters to help us ensure that we give them the best start in life.

"The mother dogs don't live in the centre, they live with volunteers as much-loved family pets. On average a mum dog will have maybe three or four litters in their lifetime.

"Without the dedicated staff, volunteers and wonderful dog mums we wouldn't have guide dogs. The very best puppies we raise come back to us as adults to become the mums and dads of the guide dogs of the future."

David said the public now have the chance to visit the centre to view the pups for themselves with special free pre-booked tours, organised three times a week.

He said: "It's free and you can learn about the work of the breeding centre and how training with a guide dog the work we do can transform the life of someone with sight loss."



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 Kelly wrapped in a towel after enjoying a bath