It was a first during my almost eight years on Sunshine Hospital Radio. My interview for my Talk of the Town show was a dog! Luckily Labrador Annie bought along her friend Linda to chat to me, so she could just snuggle down under the desk.
As part of my show I interview local groups and charities in Weston, giving local people the chance to talk about the things that matter to them. I was delighted that Linda could come along and talk about her work with the Guide Dogs, as it is such an important charity. Eye sight is something people take for granted. But imagine not being able to see at all. Never being able to read a book, struggling to go out alone, and as a result becoming a prisoner in your own home. My eye sight is not very good, but at least I can wear contact lenses to correct the problem. People who have partial or even no sight often become isolated, too nervous to go out alone. The world is a scary place at the best of times, but how do you navigate the streets outside your house without sight?
That’s where the adorable Annie, and many other dogs like her, can help. Annie has become the eyes for her owner, helping her to cross the street safely, and is even trained to bring her things. With a gently nudge she protects her owner, keeping her away form dangerous obstacles, and so giving her more independence.
Linda told me that every hour another person in the UK goes blind. A scary fact indeed. The Guide Dog Association helps people with sight loss to live their lives as independently as possible. They want everyone who experiences sight loss to have the freedom to live their life the way they choose. Linda, and many other dedicated volunteers, give up their time to train puppies to become their owners eyes. A challenging, but immensely rewarding job!
They are always looking for volunteers, either to train the puppies, or to help out at various events. Get in touch with the Bristol office by calling 01189 838722. You can find out more by visiting their website .
The Guide Dog Association will not rest until people who are blind or partially sighted can enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else. Something that shouldn’t be a big ask. So if you can help please get in touch!
And as for how Annie behaved during the interview…….impeccably! All it took was a few carrots, and lots of attention from the wardrounders. The saying never work with animals doesn’t apply here!