We were lucky enough to appear on the Channel 4 show Crufts recently. Crufts is the world’s largest dog show and featured lots of fantastic interviews and content of us! ‘Puppy Cam’, a stream of puppies playing, sleeping and generally being very cute at the National Centre, was a hit on TV and social media.
Puppy Raiser Kirsty was interviewed about her experiences of volunteering to look after pup Elizabeth. Guide dog owners also got a spot on the sofa to share their stories, including Penny Hefferan and disability activist Amy Kavanagh, as well as Guide Dogs’ Chief Scientific Officer Dr Helen Whiteside.
However, our show in the main ring on Sunday was the highlight of the four-day event. The show, hosted by Nicky Campbell, followed a guide dog’s journey, right from conception and the puppy stage, through training and qualifying. It culminated with a moving conversation with guide dog owner Dave Kent, who was first matched with a guide dog as a teenager and was at the show with his tenth dog Faldo.
The Kennel Club’s Hero Dog Award was also announced on the Sunday, with Scott Bailey and his guide dog Milo among the five finalists. Golden retriever Milo is Scott’s first guide dog; he helped to pull Scott from a very dark place and bring him back to his family. Scott had to give up his beloved career as a dairy farmer when he suddenly lost his sight to diabetic retinopathy three years ago, but Milo gave him the reason to get up and out of the house again. Although the pair didn’t win overall, Scott was honoured to attend and tell the world about his best friend.
Behind the cameras, staff and volunteers and plenty of well-behaved dogs were manning the Guide Dogs stand, talking to many members of the public about the charity’s life-changing work. It was an incredible effort all-round, and another wonderful way to highlight our 90-year anniversary.
Corrie star Charlie De Melo was on hand to play puppy midwife with his mum, Lynne, who is a Guide Dogs volunteer and looks after guide dog mum, Sarah.
On Saturday 12 December, we were delighted to virtually host Guide Dogs' supporters for our 2020 Christmas Wishes Event. Together we celebrated all the incredible wishes you’ve helped come true this year for people with sight loss, as well as their friends and families.