Bailey is ready for a dog's life
23 February 2010
By Monique Cleaver
News reporter, Evening Telegraph
I’M OFF – Bailey the Guide Dog prepares to leave her training home to start her working life
Bailey is all packed and ready to set off on her next adventure on the road to becoming a fully-fledged Guide Dog. Alan and Linda Whitwell, who have been training Bailey for a year before she leaves to start her formal training, bid farewell to their faithful companion tomorrow.
Bailey, who was sponsored in memory of former Kettering tennis coach Jim Bailey, even went round Kettering town centre yesterday, saying her
goodbyes to shopkeepers who have helped in her training.
Mr Whitwell, of Gotch Road, Barton Seagrave, said: "My wife will be in tears tomorrow. It's a bit like waving your children off to university – except she won't come back with a load of washing, asking to borrow some money."
Bailey will spend a short time at the Guide Dog centre in Leamington Spa before going to a specialist mobility instructor. Once she has completed the final part of her training, the one-year-old will be paired with someone who needs her.
Mr Whitwell said in the past 12 months they had taken Bailey on trains, buses and lifts and in restaurants and pubs and into crowds to get her used to different scenarios. He said: "They have to learn an awful lot in the first 12 months but she has been absolutely brilliant. "She's been the best one we've had so far – she's so friendly and loving. We get to go and see her once at Leamington Spa, but then we won't see her again."
Bailey was sponsored after Kettering Tennis Club members Mark Taylor, Wayne Tideswell and Graeme Milligan raised £5,000 for Guide Dogs for the Blind by running the Chicago Marathon last year. When Mr Bailey died last January, they contacted the charity to see if a puppy could be named after him.
Mark Cortis, secretary of Kettering Tennis Club, said: "We are very proud of the three guys who raised a fabulous sum of money for a fantastic cause. We've seen Bailey when she's been to see everyone at the club. She's ready to start her formal training and she has passed the first hurdle."