A trainee guide dog has been named Joan in honour of a lady who left money to us to be used to train a guide dog.

Joan with Cathy, Anne and Frances © RSPCAAs we don’t train guide dogs, we gave the money to the charity Guide Dogs in 2011 to sponsor the training of a dog from puppy to qualified guide dog.

Now, Joan the dog, who is named after generous supporter Joan Peggy Lindsey, has completed her first year of training with her ‘puppy walkers’.

Clive and Anne Pollitt took on the care of Joan in 2012 as their eighth guide dog puppy.  As two of 3,500 puppy walkers in the UK, the Pollitts’ job is to take on a six-week-old dog and care for them until they are 12-14 months old.  They teach basic obedience like sit, down, stay and walking on the lead.  They also spend time getting the dogs used to different environments, like homes, shops, public transport and busy town centres to experience all the sights, sounds and smells they may encounter as a fully qualified guide dog.

Joan is continuing her training

Joan the dog © RSPCA

Joan has now been transferred to the Guide Dogs Training School in Atherton, Manchester, to continue her training.  There she is being introduced to obstacle courses designed to teach the movements needed to negotiate things like overhanging hedges, shop signs and bus stops.  It will be another eight months before she is ready to go to a blind or partially sighted person to become their invaluable guide and companion.

Katherine Woolf, assistant legacy officer at the RSPCA, said:

“When we received Mrs Lindsey’s legacy in 2010 we realised that she had very generously left her money to benefit guide dogs and we thought it would be a great tribute to her if the money could be used to sponsor one special dog through training.


“We always work very closely with other charities and are pleased to be sharing so closely in Joan’s development and wish her and her future owner a happy life together.”

Anne Pollitt said:

“It is hard to say goodbye to the dogs we look after but the end justifies the means, we know they are going on to a valuable and rewarding life.  Joan is one of the best puppies we’ve had and we’ll miss her hugely.”

Frances Combs, legacy engagement officer for Guide Dogs, said:

“We are grateful to the RSPCA and Mrs Lindsey for this generous donation.  Two out of three guide dogs exist thanks to gifts in wills and this generous support enables us to continue our life-changing work.”

Find out more information about leaving a legacy to the RSPCA or Guide Dogs.

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