Tesco’s friendship with Guide Dogs for The Blind.
Way back in 1931 two British pioneers, Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond, organised the training of the first four British guide dogs from a lock up garage in Merseyside.
Fast forward to 2016 when I met Phil, Liz and Biscuit.
Biscuit was born on 29th January 2016 and went to live with Phil and Liz on 24th March 2016. I had the privilege of meeting her two days later when she came for her first look around Tesco Loudwater.
Always looking for ways of helping the community/charities, and being a dog lover, I struck up a conversation with Phil and Liz finding the information on puppy walking fascinating, but admitted it was not something I could do personally as I would never be able to hand the puppy over for the training stage.
Biscuit came to Loudwater nearly every week. I asked if I could supply her with treats and record her progress in photos for the community board, enabling colleagues and customers to follow her journey from socialising to training, therefore making Biscuit Loudwaters’ little puppy that everyone could relate to.
With her being part of the “Sponsor a Puppy Scheme” I tried really hard to arrange for the store to sponsor her. Low and behold, without realising it, Sam, the Phone Shop Manager, was actually sponsoring Loudwaters’ little puppy making Biscuit even more special and personal to the store.
Biscuit did her “Pup date” photo shoot in store in September 2016, going on to her training in February 2017. By June the same year, not being quite good enough for her to be free run by a visually impaired owner, Biscuit settled for being an Ambassador for Guide Dogs helping with fundraising and living permanently with Phil and Liz.
Liz started puppy walking in the mid 1970’s after Blue Peter asked for volunteers. She walked 18 pups before getting together with Phil, with both of them puppy walking in Loudwater from 2010 and having 9 puppies with biscuit being number 7.
Not all puppies go on to be guide dogs. Phil and Liz have had 4 yes, 4 no and 1 in training. They are now well and truly part of the Tesco Loudwater family with Phil working on produce/checkouts and Liz on counters, so I can get my pup story fixes whenever they are on duty.
This year Phil, Liz, Biscuit and Lily (Biscuit’s friend) took part in our Race for Life private event. Tesco has always been very welcoming of all assistance dogs, being the first supermarket to allow the puppies to socialise/train in store.
Information on the “Sponsor a Puppy Scheme” can be found at www.guidedogs.org.uk/sponsor