Our founder Anne Royle, who is blind herself, discovered that there was a long waiting list for a new German Shepherd once her old one had retired. She felt that the waiting time for mobility of up to 3 years was a very long time and decided to do something to help ease the situation.
Initially to make sure that there was a demand for German Shepherds Anne completed four different surveys of the blind community throughout the UK. These surveys came back as a resounding YES for more German Shepherds as well as a resounding YES for in-depth, controlled, residential centre training.
Since that time Anne has registered Pathfinder Dogs as a charity (SC 035007) as well as a Limited Company by Guarantee. Our company name and charity name is Pathfinder Guide Dog Programme, however, we trade as Pathfinder Dogs. Then fundraising started. Anne and her group of loyal volunteers can be seen on street collections throughout the UK as well as speaking for blindness and dogs as a whole. Anne has a solid background in the dog world having worked with dogs for over thirty years, she says "you never know it all and there is always something new to learn in the dog world".
Pathfinder Dogs qualified our first two working dogs in 2010. We plan to purchase at least two puppies each year to enable us to continue and grow until we complete the construction of our training centre. We will be entering into our own breeding programme once we have our training complex built and the facilities on our grounds to take care of these puppies and their parents.
JUTONE & FELSENTAL are proud to have been associated with Pathfinder Dogs for a number of years and four of our dogs have been selected for training as guides. Akira is fully trained and waiting to be paired with her new owner in Leeds. Willow is fully trained and is paired with Michelle in Kent. Balto is undertaking his advanced training with Debbie, the training manager, and Kayra is with her puppy raiser, Debbie Hill
Willow's graduation with Debbie Callaghan, the training manager and her new mum, Michelle Ross.
Please follow Pathfinder Guide Dogs on their Facebook page or their website. Donations of many sorts are always welcome.