Due to the generous donations of the general public, Guide Dogs is able to deliver this service at little or no cost. On successful qualification, the cost of the guide dog is a token 50p, which covers the legal transfer of the dog to the owner. If you wish to contribute more, you may.
Guide Dogs will meet the full cost of dog food and veterinary fees throughout the working life of the dog, provided the owner and dog continue to reside in the UK. Many owners wish to make a contribution towards these costs through regular or one off donations and in some cases the owner will feel able to meet all of these costs. We appreciate that owners' circumstances may change and that contributions towards food costs and veterinary fees may need to be reviewed.
Following your initial enquiry, we will talk to you in detail to listen to your story and understand your mobility needs and aspirations. We ask you for a self-declaration medical, and may need to speak to your GP. We then follow this up with a personal assessment on your ability to move around safely and with confidence, and if you are eligible to continue, a guide dog assessment, which includes observing you out and about in your local area.
If you are experiencing difficulty getting around because of your sight loss, then you could be considered for a guide dog. Some remaining vision can be useful in identifying your route and can be used to assist the dog.
It can be a problem, though, if you are unable to trust the dog when it’s guiding you because of your remaining vision. For example, if you stop the dog before the kerbs or lead it around obstacles then the dog will quickly realise this and will stop guiding you safely. If this is something you are not sure about then please discuss it with the member of staff who visits you.
Not necessarily. However, for many people long cane or other mobility training can be very useful, as it builds confidence to travel independently and ensures a knowledge of their home area and routes that they would need to cover with the guide dog. It also provides a second mobility option should the guide dog be ill or unable to work at any time.
Many people with additional conditions have succeeded in training with a guide dog, including those with diabetes, people with hearing loss and amputees. We can talk to you individually about the implications of any difficulties that you have and investigate whether it would affect your ability to work with a guide dog.
Usually the answer is yes, and once introduced the two dogs will generally be fine together. However, the routine and behaviour of your pet dog can affect the guide dog and its work, so we like to discuss this with you. You would also need to think about how you will exercise the two dogs, since you cannot work the guide dog in harness and lead the pet dog at the same time.
Again, this is not usually a problem. Guide dogs are generally quite happy around other pets, including cats. If they are introduced carefully then they get to know each other and the guide dog will settle into the home.
We welcome enquiries from anyone who may benefit from owning a guide dog and will discuss your needs for an interpreter.
The waiting time for a guide dog can vary and is affected by many different factors e.g. the demand in your local area, the types of dog available at any given time and your requirements. Our aim is to train you within nine months but waiting times can be significantly longer or shorter than this.
Many people with sight loss travel very safely and independently using other forms of mobility aids. We will take great care in looking at all the possibilities and if a guide dog is not the right solution in your current circumstances we offer other services that may be suitable such as My Guide, our volunteer sighted guiding service. We can then work with you to ensure you achieve a greater level of mobility and independence.