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Spring puppy at Guide dogs

Puppy Opal got her first introduction to spring flowers at the Guide Dog Head Office in Burghfield Common, near Reading, Berks today.

Puppy OpalThe official start of spring is tomorrow (Saturday, March 21, 2009,) marks a milestone for Opal, as she continues her training to become a four-legged companion for a blind or partially sighted person.

Richard Huggins, Guide Dogs Puppy Walking Manager, South and East, says: ‘Our guide dogs must be able to help their owners deal with any situation that comes up, so we teach them to deal with all kinds of potential distractions. Some dogs try to eat flowers, which can cause them stomach upsets or worse. So it's important that we expose our puppies to flowers now, so they know to ignore them as a distraction, in the future, when they qualify as a working guide dog.

‘The experience that Opal is getting with the spring flowers now is invaluable. It will be a lasting memory for the pup, which will enable her to graduate as a fully trained guide dog after two years. Being a constant companion to a blind or partially sighted person is a 24/7 job.’ Opal, a four month old golden retriever, is currently being cared for by puppy walker Mrs Chris Secker of Caversham, Reading.

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