We decided that Trentham Gardens would be the ideal location for our walk so we set of bright and early, capes at the ready...
Altogether, we spent about an hour walking around with Elsa and she loved every minute of it.
I honestly couldn't think of an easier or more enjoyable way to raise money for a cause that we care so much about!
£200 is enough to pay for ten hours of training at a Guide Dogs Training School which goes a long way towards giving someone who is visually impaired a chance to live their life more independently.
We hope our story will inspire more people to take part in events like this one which are hosted throughout the year by Dogs Unite. Click here to see how you can get involved!
Original Post - 17th January 2018 | Will you be walking a dog on Thursday, 22nd February? If the answer is 'yes' then you have the power to change someone's life!
The Dogs Unite for Guide Dogs 'Walking the Dog Day' is a free event that you can take part in anywhere and at any time to suit you, although the official event date is Thursday 22nd February 2018.
Getting involved is simple, just head to www.dogsunite.org.uk/walk to sign up for your free fundraising pack.
What's in the pack?
- Sponsorship forms
- A Hero dog cape
- Information leaflets
- Form for paying in your sponsorship money
- Dogs Unite keyring
Contents may vary from pack to pack depending on availability.
The challenge is to raise just £35 in sponsorship for your walk - this is what it costs to support one guide dog partnership for a week.
Every hour, another person in the UK loses their sight. Guide Dogs want everyone who experiences sight loss to be able to live their lives the way that they choose and feel confident, independent and supported in the world. They rely on donations from individuals to help them continue this life-changing work. There are almost two million people in the UK living with sight loss today, a number which is predicted to double to four million by 2050, so they need your support to reach as many people who are blind or partially sighted as possible.
Each pound you raise will help to give someone living with sight loss in the UK a new life. All you have to do is take your dog for a walk!
Wear your cape with pride!
Elsa's cape attracts a lot of attention and many people have asked what it means, so it's a great way to start a conversation and help to raise awareness for Guide Dogs by telling others about the event and how they can help to support Guide Dogs.
We did have to giggle when someone asked if Elsa was training to be a Guide Dog though... she has trouble getting herself from A to B without getting distracted!
Inspire Others To Follow Your Lead
Why not set yourselves a specific challenge like walking an extra mile? You could use a PitPat activity monitor to count your dog's steps!
We will be wearing our capes to attract lots of attention on the day!
Share Your Stories
We want to see your Hero Dogs wearing their capes!
Share your photos and fundraising success stories with us on social media with these hashtags: #pawsacrossbritain and #myherodog
The Source of Our Inspiration
At university I met a Guide Dog owner named Sunny with his beautiful black Labrador, Mac.
I was living on my own for the first time, a very long way from home, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I struggled to adapt to the lifestyle at university.
As a dog lover, I was drawn to Mac's comforting presence, so I took every opportunity to spend time with the pair. I was completely in awe of Sunny and Mac, literally taking life and all it had to offer in their stride. Looking back, I have lots of fond memories of spending time with both of them, and I can pawsitively say that they inspired me to support Guide Dogs!
I recently took the opportunity to catch up with Sunny and find out about his current Guide Dog, Bluey, and how having a Guide Dog has helped him to live a more independent life:
"I lost my sight at a young age so I decided to apply for my first Guide Dog in the summer before I went to university. Over the last 18 years I have lived and worked all over the country, meeting the most amazing people and living life to the full. Sight loss has been no barrier to me in living the life I have wanted and pursuing my goals and aspirations. If anything it has been my motivation and driving force."
After completing his university degree with Mac by his side, Sunny went on to work in the IT sector:
“I am currently privileged to be working with technology [for Blind Veterans UK]. Luckily for me, it’s one of my hobbies as well! I deliver training to support people, helping them make the most of computers, smart phones and tablets to enhance their quality of life. I work across a large geographical area and, although there is never a good time to be visually impaired, I certainly think it is an exciting time for the visually impaired because technology is changing so many lives for the better. For example: I, as a totally blind person, can now identify buildings when out and about. I can find my location and street name by just shaking my phone, take pictures of menus, letters and printed materials and have this read back to me, listen to music, read books and magazines, communicate with friends and family with WhatsApp, email and use social media such as Facebook with ease. All this makes the world feel a lot less scary and more accessible. As technology has improved over recent years and is getting better all the time, I am really excited because sight loss does not have to feel as isolating for so many people because there are so many options available to us these days.
I feel that the future is very bright and, despite the frustrations I have experienced due to my sight loss over the years, it's this knowledge and the ability to make lifestyle choices which motivates and encourages me."
Guide Dogs work for approximately seven to eight years, so Sunny has had two different dogs since Mac retired.
"Mac, Gretel and now Bluey have all allowed me to carry out daily tasks which so many take for granted like: going to the shops, going to the train station to go to work, meetings and delivering training courses, going out to meet friends and family to enjoy a pint in the pub, a coffee and catch up in a coffee shop or simply grabbing a bite to eat in a restaurant.
When navigating with confidence through a busy town centre or through Grand Central station in Birmingham, I sometimes think that walking with a guide dog is the closest feeling to having sight.
Having a guide dog has allowed me to make lifestyle choices and the ability to do what I want, when I want to do it on a daily basis, allowing me to be an individual.
It doesn’t matter what time it is, what day it is or even how extreme the weather conditions are, Bluey provides companionship, unconditional love and a pair of paws to assist me to where ever I want to go, always ready, keen and eager to help out."
We would like to thank Sunny for taking the time to tell us about how Guide Dogs have changed his life!
This is just one example of how your support can have a HUGE impact!
Even if you don't participate in the walk you can still support Guide Dogs by making a one-off, or regular donation directly via their Just Giving page and you can sponsor your very own Guide Dog puppy!
There are over 4,700 guide dog partnerships in the UK – but only because you put them there. Click here to meet some of these amazing dogs! The guide dog service receives no government funding and they need your continuous support. Please give whatever you can afford.