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Barker Grove For New Mansfield Guide Dog

6th March 2017
News, Mansfield

Barker Grove For New Mansfield Guide Dog 

TVs most loved dynamic duo Ant and Dec have split up, with Ant now partnering Mansfield Man David Tucker - Ant is Mr Tuckers new Guide Dog and was aptly named after Anthony McPartlin by an ITV viewer, following the Text Santa charity initiative set up by ITV to support UK-based charities during the Christmas period.

David and Ant recently qualified as a guide dog partnership after four weeks of intensive training together and they are now ready to get out and about in the Mansfield Community. 

Speaking of his new four-legged friend, David said “Ant is my third dog but each one has its own personality so you can’t take it for granted that they all work in the same way. It will take some time for us to learn how to operate together effectively and we will continue to learn during our entire time together.” 

“One thing I do know is that Ant will make it possible for me to get around on my own terms and be independent which is really important to me.” 

This marks the end of what has been around 18 months training to get Ant to the stage that he is ready to guide a blind or partially sighted person safely. 

Ant spent his first year with a volunteer puppy walker which involves learning basic commands, getting used to the big wide world by visiting shops, restaurants, train stations, travelling on buses and getting used to traffic. 

At around 12 months, he moved to its training school, in Atherton, for foundation training where he learned skills such as walking in a straight line in the centre of the pavement unless there is an obstacle; Not to turn corners unless told to do so; To stop at kerbs and wait for the command to cross the road, or to turn left or right; and how to deal with traffic. 

The final match of guide dog with the owner takes skill and experience. The owner's length of stride, height and lifestyle all contribute to the type of guide dog they will be matched with. 

It costs nearly £50,000 to support a guide dog, from birth to retirement. As Guide Dogs receive no Government funding for this service, it is entirely paid for through the generosity of public donation. 

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