Over the past year the pre-school children at Portland House had an amazing opportunity to sponsor a puppy training to be a guide dog. Our puppy was called Alfie and during group session times we learnt all about Alfie’s role as a puppy training to be a guide dog.
The children have received regular updates about Alfie’s special journey along with photographs and they have been able to watch him develop and grow from a small puppy into a lovely young dog. They have shown a great interest in his growth and have enjoyed listening to the stories of how he has been developing his specialised skills to eventually make a difference to someone’s life with a vision impairment.
Some of the children used their creative skills to draw their own pictures of Alfie, others engaged in imaginative play, taking dogs for walks on a lead. We discussed how it might feel not to be able to use our eyes to see things and practised moving around the room with only as stick to feel for dangers within the environment. ‘I can’t do it’ exclaimed one of the children, they found it was difficult as they frequently bumped into things. We all agreed what an important job Alfie would eventually have, being someone’s guide and being their eyes too.
As the sponsorship year ends Anne our senior practitioner has planned for her dog Max to come and visit the children at nursery, where they can learn about the necessary care to ensure a dog stays healthy and find out what special things Max can do too.
We are hoping to plan a visit to the local vets in the coming weeks, so the children can see where animals go when there are ill and learn about the role of the veterinary team.