DOGs – Guide Dog National Centre

Monday 5th June 2023

Seven Mogs and two tin tops took fourteen DonMog visitors to this amazing centre near Leamington Spa. It was very good to see Helen Davison amongst us after her recent time in hospital.

Now known as Guide Dogs UK ( ) they are described as providing guide dogs for the visually impaired – simply because there are so many different forms of sight issues where a guide dog can provide invaluable help. Only 4% of the people who are registered blind are totally blind.

Incredibly the whole organisation was started with four dogs in 1931 by two far seeing ladies called Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond in a lock up garage in Wallasey in the Wirral. The national organisation now employs over 1500 staff and has 14,000 working volunteers in several centres throughout the country.

The tour around the centre covered the Breeding Areas including a “honeymoon suite”, the Whelping block, the Harness and Lead manufacturing area, training grounds inside and out and welfare and vet areas with high tech testing and monitoring facilities for both the puppies and dogs. Labradors or Retrievers are the favoured breeds for the parenthood but others are also used.

We also had the opportunity to walk through a sensory tunnel wearing complete blackout masks in order to help us understand the situations that the visually impaired can be faced with. Also, we were able to use the stick with a roller end, identifying the ground surfaces approaching crossings and steps etc.

All of this was very informative for those of us who only need reading glasses or varifocals in order to deal with our daily sight problems.

Many Thanks to Barry for organising this fascinating day.

Words: Ian Stevenson

Pictures: Paul Fileman & Martin Woodward