Supporting the end of a Partnership (STEPs)

Collaboration with Blue Cross to provide a Bereavement Support Service

Since September 2013 Guide Dogs has been working with Blue Cross to provide a bereavement support service. This service is available to current and retired guide dog owners, volunteers – puppy walkers, boarders, breed stock holders etc, and their families.

A support phone line is open every day from 8.30am– 8.30 pm. There will also be an email service to provide support for people who prefer to write about how they are feeling. The service will be available to provide emotional support for guide dog owners, volunteers and their families who are grieving for the loss of their dog. The end of a partnership may be due to retirement, rehoming, illness, separation/ transition or death.

Blue Cross is a respected and well established charity that has been providing a bereavement service since 1994. They are professionally equipped to deliver their service across the whole of the UK and they have extensive experience in dealing with all aspects of loss relating to animals including experience of supporting assistance dog users. Their listeners undergo 14 weeks of training, one module of which covers the special relationship between a service user and an assistance dog. Guide Dogs work closely with the Blue Cross team to provide information, further training and support.

Guide Dogs encourage any feedback from guide dog owners or volunteers who may use the service to send feedback to their Service User Representative, mobility team, Guide Dogs contact staff or directly to Carol Warner Head of Canine Services.

This bereavement support service is available in addition to the support available from the mobility team, Service User Representative or local Guide Dogs staff contact.

Contacting the Pet Bereavement Support Service PBSS

The Bereavement Support Telephone Service is available from 8.30am – 8.30pm every day on free phone 0800 096 6606