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Guide Dog takes his name from the town of Huntly

By Pat Scott

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A guide dog called Huntly is being trained to provide a vital lifeline to a sight impaired person.

The puppy has been named Huntly by Guide Dogs Scotland’s Aberdeen fundraising group in recognition of money donated to them by, and volunteer efforts for, Guide Dogs for the Blind, by the community.

The distinction came as a result £5000 being raised, largely inspired by Huntly woman Isobel Yule who has had six guide dogs.

Huntly is a male, black and tan German Shepherd who was born on February 8 at the National Breeding Centre in Leamington Spa.

Due to Covid-19, Huntly had an extended stay at the centre with its indoor and outdoor play areas specifically designed for pups.

He is now with a puppy walker who will play a vital role in his development until he is 12 to16 months old.

Training is under way in basic obedience commands and being familiarised with different environments, people, sounds and situations.

Mary Rasmussen, a member of the Aberdeen group, who has a guide dog said: "His four month report card indicated that he has a good understanding of the command to sit but is still developing on down, come and wait.

"His toilet training routine and appetite are both described as excellent.

"He's classed as good with other dogs and travelling in the car but has still to encounter buses and trains."

When Huntly leaves his puppy walker he will begin specialised training to develop basic guiding skills, such as dealing with kerbs and avoiding obstacles.

The final step is advanced training of around 12 weeks where Huntly will put his guiding skills into practice in everyday situations with a guide dog mobility instructor.

Isobel Yule (82) is over the moon that a guide dog has been named after Huntly.

She said:"I am just so proud for all of the people who have contributed towards the wee fellow. The community as a whole has been ever so generous.

"Huntly won't come to Huntly as there is no one in need of a dog currently but he will be of great assistance to a blind person wherever he is settled."

Ms Yule's current dog, Una May is three and she described all of her dogs as wonderful guides and companions.

She added: "Una May has required a lot of patience, kindness and love but as an experienced handler I have got her to where she needs to be.

"Huntly will be matched to someone with sight-loss, taking many factors into consideration to ensure it’s the perfect match, and he will go on to truly change that person’s life."

Joanna Stevenson, regional community fundraising manager at Guide Dogs, said: ‘I hope people know just how much they have done to bring independence to a blind or partially sighted person. A guide dog brings confidence, mobility and companionship. Huntly will truly change a life."

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