If you have a serious visual impairment, a guide dog can help you become more independent and mobile. Highly trained to support you in navigating any mobility challenges you may face, guide dogs are a great way to get you out and about with confidence.
Living with a Guide Dog is always having your left-hand man close by. It’s never having to ask one of the family to nip to the shop, it’s taking your dog to work, it’s knowing people are smiling at you when they watch us work. It’s trusting him to keep me safe, it’s heading out into a sighted world with nothing to fear and a spring in the step…
Guide dog owner
Can I have a guide dog?
Any adult, child or young person with a visual impairment who meets our criteria is encouraged to apply for a guide dog.
When you first enquire about a guide dog, we’ll work with you to understand your needs and goals, and to determine which of our services will give you the best support.
What criteria do I need to meet?
To apply for a guide dog you need to satisfy the following:
- Provide evidence that you have been a UK resident for a continuous basis of at least 12 months and will remain in the UK for at least 12 months from commencement of your guide dog training
- Have an interpreter available, if relevant
- Not have any safeguarding issues that would put our staff, dogs or other clients at risk
- Be available to commence training (children and young people may train during school holidays)
- Can independently give direction to and be an active partner with a guide dog
- Able to walk for around 40 minutes (or one mile) every day
- Care for a young, intelligent and active dog
- To work the dog a minimum of five days a week
- Your sight impairment significantly impacts on your ability to travel around safely, efficiently and confidently
- That you and all members of your household are not, and have not been, subject to any type of animal ban
- Demonstrate that the guide dog will have a good quality of life, providing:
- Good nutrition
- A safe and secure environment
- Regular checks with a vet
- Exercise, space and stimulation
- Companionship and appropriate toys
When Steve met May
“The first decisions I made to make my life better was to get independent again. That was the biggest thing for me. 'Cause I wanted to be able to get up in the morning, put my shoes on and just go out.”
The effect on Steve’s life was pretty much instant. With May by his side he felt freer than he had for years.
He could go out by himself. His family soon got used to his new-found independence and stopped following him at a distance, just in case something went awry.
His confidence rose. Life was finally getting better.
If you want to find out if a guide dog is for you ...
How long does it take to get a guide dog?
The waiting time for a guide dog can vary and is affected by many different factors e.g. the demand in your local area, the types of dog available at any given time and your requirements.