Bailey's ready to serve as an ace guide dog
By Becky Inman, Kettering reporter
A puppy funded by a marathon charity effort has arrived in the county to start her guide dog training.
Seven-week-old black labrador puppy Bailey will embark on a two-year training programme to prepare her to be rehomed with a blind person. The £5,000 needed to put Bailey through her training came from Mark Taylor, Wayne Tideswell and Graeme Milligan from Kettering Tennis Club, who took part in the Chicago Marathon last year.
The trio, plus supporter Dan Rock, raised the money in memory of their coach, Jim Bailey, who died in January after a long battle with motor neurone disease. The four contacted Guide Dogs for the Blind to see if the organisation could name the new puppy after him.
Bailey will live with puppy walker Lin Whitwell in Barton Seagrave for the next 12 months, preparing her for the training she will need to become a working guide dog in just under two years' time.
Mrs Whitwell said: "Bailey is my fourth puppy to look after and she will be staying with me for a minimum of 12 months. My job is to take her out and get her used to people and noises and take her to restaurants, pubs and shops to get her used to them. We will also show her how to find doors so if a person is in a shop and needs to get out they can find their way out. And she will also learn how to use zebra crossings during her training. At the moment she is very well behaved for her age but can be very vocal sometimes."
The puppy training will also include trips on buses and trains as well as toilet training.
Mr Bailey's family have also set up a website to carry on his memory which can be found at http://jim.bailey.muchloved.com
We are very grateful to Becky Inman for granting us permission to reproduce this article on the website.