Born to be a Life Changer: A Guide Dog Puppy’s First Year

If you’ve found this page perhaps you have purchased a copy of ‘Born to be a Life Changer, A Guide Dog Puppy’s First Year’, for which I thank you. If you haven’t yet bought a copy it’s available exclusively from Amazon (please go to the site for your country) or, if you’d like to buy direct from me and ensure more £s get donated to the charity, you can email me – All profits will go to Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Here are some more photographs of the splendid Buddy, and a couple of stories about his Owner’s experiences with him.

2016/Early Stage Training/At home with Owner

Following are some experiences Buddy’s Owner has had with him, which illustrate just how wonderful Guide Dogs are:

April 2019: My Guide Dog did me proud today. My son is starting a new school in September. I have never done the route before, but I had a general idea of where the school is. I also know what the school entrance looks like. Big wide space with iron railings on either side. Armed with the maps app on my phone, we set off. The App is really useful because it talks into my ear every time I need to turn and tells me when I get there. You can set it for walking so it’s perfect. About two thirds of the way there Buddy did something odd. He normally sees obstacles from quite far away and makes a decision on how he will navigate it before we get there. I just go with his judgment mostly because he’s usually right. Today though, he went to go around what I assume was a car on the pavement. He swerved onto the grass verge which is preferable to going onto the road. Just as I had stepped onto the grass, Buddy suddenly stopped. He then did something he has never done before. He literally walked backwards! He didn’t turn, just reversed. He then decided that the road way round the car was the best way to go. I just went with him on the way there because I wanted to fix the route in my head, but I decided to check it out on the way back. We found the school ( I had been there on Monday with Buddy, having been taken there by car) and he strolled up to the building and touched the door with his nose. GOOD BOY! On the way back, we found the car again and he didn’t even try the grass this Time. I dropped the handle and got my cane out of my bag. I felt my way with the cane onto the edge of the grass and Buddy deliberately got in front of me. He was trying to block me moving forward. The grass and weeds were quite overgrown so I stayed behind Buddy but pushed out my cane on the ground. Guess what I found! I found one of those big concrete drain covers about the size of a bath. Next to it was the drain, completely open and uncovered! If I had been walking just with my cane, I may have missed the drain cover and gone straight down the hole. I used the maps app to tell me exactly where I was and then phoned up Highways to report it. There are several schools in the area and I had visions of a little kid falling in the hole. I explained to highways that my Guide Dog had found the hole. I was nearly back to town and a van with orange lights stopped by me. The man put his head out of the window to let me know that they had just put the cover on and he thanked me for letting them know. Today was a good day for Buddy. He got a pigs ear when we got home.😍

March 2021: I dropped my children at school at 8 and needed to wait until 10 before I could collect something from my doctor’s surgery. I decided to use that two hours to do some town routes that we haven’t been able to do since before the first lockdown. We didn’t go inside anywhere but walked to the doors of places like the cinema, bowling alley, sports centre etc. My dog was a bit bouncy for the school run so I made the first part of his route an off lead blast through the town park so he could let off some steam. I used my cane to walk along the paths while my dog zoomed and bunny hopped on the grass. By the time we got to the gate at the other end, he was ready to get to work. He remembered every route and didn’t try to cut corners. We even went through the church yard to get to the doctors, which Buddy has only ever done once before. We then walked the 3 miles to the supermarket where I met my mum for a lift home. According to the tracking device on his collar, Buddy has walked 15 miles today, 2 before we left for the school run and the rest since 8am. I am so pleased with how he worked today and incredibly relieved that lockdown hasn’t affected his ability to work. Most of the routes over the last year have been the same ones every day, so it was lovely for me too to have a legitimate reason why I needed to be in town for two hours. I live 7 miles from town so town routes aren’t part of my “local” area. I have never doubted his ability to guide me, but local routes don’t give him the challenges that town routes do. I am really pleased that he hasn’t forgotten how to problem solve.