Dedicated guide dog volunteer

A dedicated charity volunteer has just taken in her 25th puppy to train for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Sue Thornhill has been a ‘puppy walker’ for the charity ever since she read a book back in the 70s about how a guide dog transformed someone’s life.

Eastwood guide dog for the blind volunteer Sue Thornhill. Sue seen with trainee guide dog eric.

Eastwood guide dog for the blind volunteer Sue Thornhill. Sue seen with trainee guide dog eric.

And she has just taken in her 25th puppy to train for the first year of its life before it goes into the next stage of its training.

Sue, who lives in Eastwood, said it was ‘fullfilling’.

“Living with such a young pup does have its share of highs and lows, but seeing them turn into confident guide dogs makes it all worthwhile.

“When I get to see them in training, I am always amazed at their abilities, and you can see the pride in their eyes when they qualify as a guide dog.

“It’s an incredibly fulfilling thing to do,” added Sue.

Over her year with the puppies, Sue introduces them to everything life as a working dog might throw at them, from negotiating busy city streets to getting used to the dreaded trips to the vets. Once the year is up, the experts at Guide Dogs take over – and it is this which, according to Sue, is the only downside to puppy walking.

“It can be hard to hand over a puppy every year,” she said.

“After all, they become a major part of my life while they are with me. But I know they are off to do some really important work, and I often get updates from them as they go through their working life. These dogs really do change the lives of their owners – and they’ve changed my life for the better too.”

If you would like to volunteer for Guide Dogs, contact David Clough on 08453 727424, or email nottingham@guidedogs.org.uk.