Rehoming guide dogs FAQ
Type of dogs available
We typically breed Labrador cross golden retrievers but do also have pure Labradors, golden retrievers, flat coat retrievers and German shepherd dogs available. Characteristics and temperaments do vary from breed to breed and dog to dog.
Our older dogs usually retire from work around 9 to 11 years of age. It’s common for our guide dogs to remain with their partnership family or close friends who have been associated with the dog throughout their life. Sometimes this isn’t possible so we look to find a suitable loving home where the dog can enjoy their hard-earned retirement. Retired guide dogs have spent most of their lives with constant human companionship and this means they can have separation anxiety if left alone too frequently or for long periods of time.
These are commonly dogs that aren’t suited to becoming a guide dog. Typically these dogs will be around 12 to 18 months old. This can be for a number of reasons either health or behaviour related, but these dogs make a perfect pet dog with the proper support. Behaviour reasons may include many types of distractions, suspicions or anxiety around other animals or people. Health issues can include skin, eye or joint conditions.
Our dogs all have their own personalities and quirks. We work with them for over two years to ensure they can become a guide dog for someone. However, some dogs are better suited for other careers, or being a pet dog. Typically we will find this out around 12 to 18 months old but it can be later. This can be for a variety of reasons either health or behaviour related. Typical behaviour reasons may include various forms of distraction, suspicion and or anxiety about other animals or people. Health issues can include skin, eye and joint conditions.
Our dogs usually retire when they are around 9 to 11 years of age. It’s common for our guide dogs to remain as a pet with their partnership family or with close friends but sometimes this isn’t possible so we look for a new owner where the dogs can enjoy their hard-earned retirement. Retired dogs have spent the majority of their lives with human company which means they can become distressed if they are left alone too frequently or for long periods of time.
If you’re interested in becoming a forever home for one of our dogs, please fill in the application form. If you’re eligible, we’ll send you a form to fill out some more information about yourself. Using this information, we’ll make sure we find a good match for our dogs. If we find a match, we’ll contact you, and do a home check before you meet your potential new dog.
You’ll be given the dog’s history and all the relevant information for your dog. You’ll be allocated a specific Rehoming Officer who will be able to answer any questions at the time of your home visit and throughout the rehoming process. In addition, you’ll get a call from your Rehoming Officer about two weeks after you rehome your dog from us. If necessary, a follow-up visit can be arranged. If at any time your situation changes, please let us know and if appropriate, we can find your dog a new home.
All of our dogs for rehoming will normally need to be introduced to your family at one of our four Guide Dog regional centres. The centre where your application is processed is likely to be where we’d introduce you to your dog. However, occasionally we may contact you and offer you a dog who is outside of your area, and you’ll be asked to travel to where your dog is located.
Please note: A prior appointment must be made with your Rehoming Officer to meet one of our dogs. All rehoming is by appointment only.
As we are not a rehoming or rescue charity we don’t have specific rehoming centres. Entrance to the dog regional centre is by appointment only. You will be given full details and an appointment time to meet your dog by your Rehoming Officer, if we have a potential match for you.
As we’re not a rehoming or rescue charity we don’t advertise our dogs to be rehomed. The reason for rehoming varies and we prefer to match our dogs and rehomers based on their needs. You can see images of rehomed guide dogs and typical working guide dogs across our website, including our inspiring stories of rehomed dogs.
Yes – all of our dogs are neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, health checked and have regular preventative treatment against fleas and worms.
We offer four weeks of pet insurance with a pet plan when each dog goes to a new home. Ideally we would ask rehomers to take on all costs for their dog, including liability insurance and health insurance. However, if your dog has an ongoing or serious condition any ongoing financial support can be discussed with your Rehoming Officer.
Guide dog owners and their family and close friends can be nominated to rehome a dog. This happens before we try to find another home for their dog. However, sometimes this isn’t the best option for the guide dog owner or for the dog. When rehoming a retired guide dog we ask the rehomer to make contact with the guide dog owner as the dog will have been their companion and means of independence for usually between 7 and 8 years of their lives. If you want to learn more, you can read about it on our retiring a guide dog page.
Our dogs have been used to constant human companionship, so this would be detrimental to their ongoing welfare. However, it is possible that we will be able to match you with a dog if you work from home full time. This is something we will establish during the interview process.
Unfortunately as you work full time and no-one else is in your home during the day we can’t proceed with your application. Your dog has to be looked after within your home by a family member (who lives with you).
We require that our dogs are not left for more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period. We don’t count dog walkers, being dropped off at another home or people letting your dog out at lunchtime. Our dogs are highly socialised with people so don’t like being left or taken elsewhere from the family home as many dogs have very specific needs.
The reasoning for this is that our dogs are with people 24/7 while they are being puppy raised and then in the initial stages of training, and we’ve found in the past if we rehomed to families who were out all day the dogs became destructive as they were bored and also lonely.
Unfortunately as you work full time and no-one else is in your home during the day we can’t proceed any further with your application. Our dogs are highly socialised with people and aren’t suited to being left alone for long periods.
Our criteria is that the dog is left for no more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period. We do not count dog walkers as being part of your family and therefore the dog would be left more than the 4 hours without a family member. People coming home at lunchtime also would not count.
Yes, we are always open to rehoming a dog with other pets including cats if appropriate. However, not all of our dogs may be suitable and some may prefer to be the only pet. Each case is dealt with on an individual needs basis and will always be discussed with you.