Care home residents assist with guide dog training

Care home residents assist with guide dog training <i>(Image: Abbeyfield)</i>
Care home residents assist with guide dog training (Image: Abbeyfield)

Care home residents at Abbeyfield Winnersh have been assisting with guide dog training.

It comes as part of a new partnership between the care home and charity Guide Dogs.

Gibson, a five-month-old German Shepherd-Golden Retriever cross, has been visiting the home every other week to supplement his training to become a full-time guide dog.

Gibson is accompanied by Sophie, a Puppy Development Supervisor for the South-East, and his owner Rakesh, who will have Gibson for just over a year before he moves on to more training with Guide Dogs.

Abbeyfield Winnersh is part of a wider network of care homes, sheltered housing schemes and independent living complexes for older people.

The home is keen to engage fully with the local community.

Resident Rhona Nightingale is thrilled to be able to get to know Gibson.

“I love being involved in the guide dog training,” she said.

“I had a friend who had a guide dog, and it was the most amazing dog I've ever had contact with – although my dogs were also very well trained too.

"I've noticed Gibson is very obedient and will make a great guide dog in my opinion.”

Gibson is in the early stages of controlling his excitable puppy ways, learning to greet people on command, settle again and not jump up, and he is also working on his recall.

Rakesh believes that a care home is a great environment for Gibson to start his training, so he can get used to being around new and unfamiliar people, as well as different noises.