A YAPTON puppy walker has praised a charity for the kindness it showed when her latest dog died.
Mandy Worne and her four children were heartbroken by the sudden death of Hedley just before his first birthday.
They had looked after the labrador retriever cross for most of his life on behalf of Guide Dogs.
The effort the charity put into Hedley’s treatment left Mandy so full of admiration she decided to use her London Marathon place to raise £600 in just a weekend for it.
She said Guide Dogs spared no expense in Hedley’s treatment which led to his diagnosis with fatal lymphoma and the decision to put him to sleep.
She also has decided to resume her puppy walking work for Guide Dogs after thinking the upset of Hedley’s departure was too much for her to continue.
Mandy, 42, of Giles Close, said: “This just shows how people rally round when you ask them to help out for a good cause.
“Everybody adored Hedley. I had more people stop me when I was out with him than with any of the other three Guide Dog puppies I’ve had. I always knew there were something special about him. He was such a healthy puppy but his condition deteroriated so quickly.”
Mandy looks after puppies from six weeks old and subjects them to as many enviroments as possible in their first weeks with her. She was due to pass on Hedley for further specialist training this month to enable him to become a companion for a blind or partially sighted person.
“He was a strapping dog which weighed 35kg,” she said. “He could run with me for up to six or seven miles when I was training for the marathon. He deteriorated so suddenly.”
Joel Young, Guide Dog’s community engagement officer, said Hedley’s death had been a terrible shock to all those who knew him.
“Thankfully, these cases are very rare. Guide Dogs takes the welfare of all its dogs seriously. The health of all pups is of paramount importance to Guide Dogs and they are closely monitored for any decision which may affect their future career,” he said.
Each pup has a training supervisor who visits each puppy walker monthly. They also have a dedicated dog care and welfare advisor who works with a local vet.