Hillier Garden Centres have chosen Guide Dogs as their charity of the year and through their fundraising activities they have been able to name a guide dog puppy, Chelsea!
On her visit to the centre, Chelsea walked round the site meeting staff members and took quite an interest in the watering! She also had the opportunity to meet many customers. This gave them a great opportunity to see first-hand how Hillier were supporting the charity.
Gill Mayo, of Hillier, says "Here at Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres, we are proud to be supporting this wonderful organisation. It was great to meet 'our puppy' Chelsea, her name inspired by the RHS Flower Show. We are so impressed with the skills that she has already learnt with her puppy walker and know she is going to be a really amazing dog."
Little Chelsea is only 4 months old, but has already learned many of the basic commands that will be used when she goes out into the world as part of a guide dog partnership. Continual development, such as socialisation and handling, also takes place at this time. Once Chelsea is 6 months old she will have learned the skills to be able to walk confidently on the lead at the left of her handler; currently volunteer Puppy Walker, Martin Cooper.
Although this is Chelsea's first visit, the staff at Hillier Garden Centres have been hearing about her progress via 'pupdates' from Guide Dogs. They have discovered that Chelsea is currently learning about public transport and undertaking training on buses and trains with her Puppy Walker. Time is spent in these environments so Chelsea can experience the sights and sounds of trains as they arrive and depart and this will help her become confident in such surroundings. This has enabled Hillier to also keep customers up to date with her progress.
Katie Smith, from Guide Dogs, says: 'Puppy visits are really special. Our supporters get to see how all the effort and time they put into fundraising has resulted in them naming and supporting a puppy, which will go on to be invaluable to someone with a visual impairment. We are incredibly grateful for the support we are receiving from Hillier Garden Centres.'
It costs approximately £50,000 for the lifetime cost of a guide dog. Guide Dogs does not receive any Government funding for this service. Without the generosity of public donation, it would not be possible to support the 4,500 guide dog partnerships in the UK. Guide Dogs commitment to their clients means that they will provide a guide dog for as long as one is needed.
If you would like to find out how you could Name a Puppy or support your local team by volunteering, please call 0845 372 7428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.