Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex met the life-changing guide dogs of the future as part of a visit to the Guide Dogs National Centre in Warwickshire
The Countess, who is Guide Dogs’ Patron, toured the world-leading centre to learn about the scientific expertise behind the charity’s breeding programme, and met some very special dogs along the way.
Her Royal Highness got hands on with the six-week-old pups in their specially designed enclosure, helping to weigh them and helping staff portion out food at feeding time. She also toured the centre’s laboratories and met the guide dog mums and dads who will produce the next generation of pups, as well as the staff and volunteers who care for them.
Later, The Countess launched the academy programme which will provide Guide Dogs with more expert dog-training staff in the future and help provide more people with guide dogs. Her Royal Highness also took part in a dog training demonstration, where trainers showcased some of the basic skills all guide dogs in training must learn.
The visit is the second to a Guide Dogs Centre since The Countess officially became the charity’s Patron in July, taking over from Princess Alexandra.
Jamie Hambro, Chair of Guide Dogs said: “We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness to our National Centre. It is a facility we are incredibly proud of and is at the heart of how we will provide guide dogs for people who need them in the future. Our Academy programme will also help us ensure we have enough expert staff to reach more people with our life-changing services.”