Applause for big-hearted guide dog volunteers


Kind-hearted Lanarkshire volunteers whose contributions greatly improve the lives of visually impaired people have been honored at a special ceremony.

They all donate their time to the Hamilton Center of Guide Dogs – a charity celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.

East Kilbride volunteer puppy raiser Craig Herbert led guests to Saint Mary’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Hamilton, before Glasgow man Carlos Rodriguez gave an inspirational speech about how his life has gone changed since partnering with guide dog, Marine.

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Carlos battled severe depression after losing his sight and credits Marine for helping him enjoy life again – and lost over 10 stone on their daily walks.

Carlos Rodriguez says his guide dog, Marine, has transformed his life

Guide dog volunteer coordinator Susan Harrison said Lanarkshire Live“These were our first in-person awards since the start of the pandemic and it was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the work of our incredible volunteers.

“Volunteers are central to our very existence and part of everything we do.

“There would be no guide dogs without them. Congratulations to all of our winners and finalists.”

Craig Herbert, volunteer puppy raiser, invited guests to the event

The winners and runners-up of the event included people who help the charity in many ways, such as fostering dogs, raising puppies, fundraising, campaigning and driving.

Dog foster family Violet Murray, of Motherwell, won the ‘expert’ award for the skill and commitment they have shown in fostering guide dogs in training.

Over the past six years, Vi has fostered seven guide dogs and she is also a sighted guide, a role which involves taking a Blantyre man’s guide dog for free, off-leash runs, during which she acts as his guide. .

Winners Christine Patterson and Violet Murray

Vi is currently caring for Theo, the first guide dog she raised directly from a volunteer puppy raiser in her early training.

“I look after the dog, I have him at home, except for the times I take him to training school in Hamilton, five days a week from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,” she explained.

“I have to run the dog free on the weekends, let him off the leash and maintain the training he receives at Guide Dogs.

Bramble at the guide dog training center

“It involves things like stopping at the curb, using the same commands they use, and giving him lots of experiences like socializing with people and other dogs.

“I sometimes take them to cafes and out for lunch and to visit family. Basically, they’re treated like any other dog when they’re not working.”

Christine Patterson, from Glasgow, accepted the ‘Partner’ award for her work as a dog health and welfare volunteer at the charity’s Hamilton office. Christine’s nomination described her as having “a charming and calm manner with dogs”.

The dedicated team at Guide Dogs’ Hamilton

Fundraiser Stewart Houston of Biggar won the “Optimist” award.

Saïd Stewart: “I am delighted and will cherish my certificate and badge. I am truly grateful for the nomination and receipt of this award.

The charity currently uses volunteer puppy raisers to care for a puppy for 12-16 months, guiding them through training, socialization, introducing new environments and experiences while providing a home. magnet.

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