Jennie Lea and her current (6th) guide dog, Yaran
A WOMAN who has owned six guide dogs over a 55-year period is to star in the 75th anniversary celebrations of the first guide dogs in the UK.
Jennie Lea, 82, from Fulwood, Lancashire will star on a special page of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association's website with her Labrador Yaran.
Jennie was one of the first guide dog owners in Preston when she qualified with her dog Prince.
She had lost her sight in an accident at the age of five and decided to get a guide dog when she was 26.
Jennie was trained at Leamington Spa in December 1950, by Captain Liakhoff, the founder of the Association, who was the only guide dog trainer in the country at that time.
She said: ‘He knew so much about dogs and animals, and taught me so much.’
The anniversary celebrates the unique relationship between guide dogs and their owners.
The page features stories about the ways in which guide dogs have transformed the lives of their visually impaired owners by providing independence, dignity, confidence and freedom of mobility.
Jennie, who had a career as a telephonist and typist, is one of 75 guide dog owners from across the UK to be featured in the commemorations. Yaran her current dog, has been her loyal guide since 1999. Jennie said: ‘I don't know what I would have done without a guide dog. They help you so much in your life.’