Unfortunately, not every dog qualifies to become a working guide dog - some are better suited to different roles or simply being fantastic pets.
People's Postcode Lottery player-funded puppy Reggie was one such dog, but he has now found his winning forever home in Perthshire!
Reggie is full of character. He found the training environment challenging and was easily distracted during training at the centre and when out in the community. Also, he wasn't motivated highly by food, toys or verbal praise for any of them to be a strong enough reinforcer for training.
Finding the perfect forever home
Our dedicated rehoming team works hard to ensure that all the dogs in our care that need to be rehomed are matched to their perfect forever family. Often, a retired guide dog will stay with the guide dog owner or a family member as a pet. Unfortunately, that's not always possible, in which case retired guide dogs or younger dogs who haven't qualified are sometimes adopted by the volunteer puppy raisers or fosterers who've previously cared for them. Otherwise, the rehoming team then review applications received from members of the public.
Stuart and his wife Yvonne applied to the rehoming team following the sad loss of their senior dog Roxy, whom they'd also adopted from Guide Dogs when she was 15 months old. Struggling with their loss and realising there was a dog-shaped hole in their lives, they decided to get back in touch with our team.
Stuart and Yvonne's application immediately stood out, particularly as they were previous rehomers and had been through the home checks and assessment stages before. But also, the couple was able to demonstrate their previous commitment to Roxy. They had the necessary experience to take on a strong-willed cheeky dog with similar traits and training needs.
Following several discussions about Reggie, his challenges and needs, plus a Covid-safe re-assessment of Stuart and Yvonne's home and garden, he was taken to meet Stuart. Stuart was immediately smitten!
Living his best life
Fast-forward a few months and Reggie has settled in well. He's already achieved his first Good Citizen training award and has tried agility, with his own little agility course in the garden! Unfortunately, Covid restrictions have temporarily put a hold on taking Reggie to training classes and other activities, but Stuart is keen for him to try Dog Scurry once they've worked more on Reggie's retrieval.
Reggie has surprised Stuart with how quickly his training has come on, clearly flourishing in a home environment. Stuart said, "Reggie is a real character. He is quiet and relaxed in the house, but outside he's full of energy, loves to run and jump - but his catching skills leave a lot to be desired! He's good off-lead walking in the woods and his recall has improved immensely with the call of 'chicken'!"
Bringing joy to people living in care
Whilst Reggie won't be able to support a person with sight loss, Stuart is keen to train him as a therapy dog, as they previously did with Roxy. Reggie is a gentle boy who loves belly rubs and actively seeks human attention - he's already well known and loved in the family's street. Stuart believes he will be a natural. He'd love for Reggie to bring some joy to the lives of people living in care and support their wellbeing through the visit of a happy, handsome, furry friend.
Our rehoming teams have been receiving an extremely high level of interest in recent months. Please visit the rehoming pages of the website for more information on whether your local site is currently accepting new applications. Unfortunately, we can't comment on all individual applications due to the sheer volume we receive.
We're so grateful for the support from players of People's Postcode Lottery. The funding we received to support Reggie will be diverted to the training of other dogs to become life-changing guides.