Guide dog offers a paw in friendship

A FORMER guide dog has joined Scottish War Blinded members as Scotland’s first buddy dog for adults.

The buddy dog scheme is run by Guide Dogs for the Blind and allows former guide dogs to use their skills in a less demanding environment.

The scheme previously only provided buddy dogs for children, but now five-year-old Oates, a black Labrador, has joined the Linburn Centre in West Lothian as the first buddy dog to be used with adults.

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The scheme makes use of dogs that have been fully trained but are no longer suited to working as a guide dog.

Oates’s previous owner become very ill and therefore a lack of exercise and work experience meant that he had grown distant from his guide dog training and had developed some bad habits. It was therefore decided that Oates was no longer a suitable guide dog.

Deb Hiscox, guide dog mobility assistant, said: “Oates is so ideal for the role of a buddy dog, he has a very calm temperament and copes well around lots of people. You can see the effect of having a dog and the difference a dog can make to people’s lives is amazing.”