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updated 26/10/01
All aboard the Puppy Walking Express!

WITH A bark and a whistle, the Severn Valley Railway's Guide Dogs' Express will steam out of Kidderminster with 70 puppy walkers and their dogs today, Friday, 26th October.

The special train, with its canine packed carriages, will travel to Bridgnorth in celebration of the important work of The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association's volunteer puppy walkers.

The charity's puppy walkers care for and educate guide dog pups from six weeks of age until they are year old, when they begin their specialised guide dog training at centres around the country. Volunteers teach basic obedience and get the puppies used to a home environment, noise and the bustle of towns. A young guide dog puppy is a companion for its temporary owners, who find it so rewarding to raise a dog who will one day give a blind person a new independence by acting as their eyes.

With support from the Severn Valley railway, Guide Dogs hopes to raise awareness of its work amongst young people. Children on the train will receive complementary copies of the charity's Pups magazine, packed with exciting celebrity interviews and information about the work of guide dogs. David MacKay from Guide Dogs explains: "We are really grateful to the volunteers who so enthusiastically prepare puppies for their role as guide dogs. Wanting to acknowledge and celebrate their work, with the fantastic support of the Severn Valley Railway, we hope everyone will have a journey to remember.