An adorable blind puppy has learnt to navigate life without sight thanks to an incredible team at Dogs Trust’s Dog School. Darwin the cockapoo was born at the charity’s Basildon centre in October after his pregnant mum was smuggled into the country.
Staff soon discovered that he was completely blind, and required a dedicated family who were willing to support his needs. Thankfully, Darwin soon found his forever home with Bethany Godbert in Hertfordshire, and successfully graduated from Dog School at nine months old.
Charlotte Vallancey, Dog School coach, said: “As Darwin is blind, we needed to adapt our usual training methods in order to accommodate Darwin and ensure the training was best suited to him and Bethany.
“Working on verbal cues was important and we would use clear sounds that Darwin could easily pick up on, as well as using the smell of tasty treats as a guide for him to follow.
“We really focused on the skills that Darwin would need to live safely and happily with his family.
“We are very grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for helping us to fund key roles. By helping to fund our Dog School Coaches, we are able to provide help and support to dogs like Darwin and his loving owner, Bethany.”
Darwin isn’t Bethany’s first rescue dog – she also adopted three-year-old beagle, Newton, from Dogs Trust Kenilworth rehoming centre in 2019.
Bethany said: “Newton immediately accepted Darwin as his fur-brother and best friend, and they are great together and love to play chase in the garden.
“When we are out on walks, Newton wears a bell on his collar to help Darwin navigate, a training tip we picked up from Dog School.
“I was so impressed with how accommodating Dog School were with Darwin, he thoroughly enjoyed attending the training sessions, and all their help and support enabled me to understand how I can better communicate with Darwin and make both of our lives that much easier.
“Since Darwin graduated, I began volunteering at the Dog School each week, so I can also help dogs like Darwin.”
Dog School provides in-person and virtual group training classes and 1-2-1 sessions for dogs of all ages.
The training courses provide essential training and behaviour advice and practical support to help you create a lifelong bond with your dog.