READ: Guide dogs talk to WI

PARISH COUNCIL – Read Parish Council will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, at 7-30 p.m. in Read United Reformed Church. A copy of the agenda will be displayed in the parish noticeboard at the bottom of Jubilee Street. At the start of the meeting, members of the public are allowed to bring up any points they would like to discuss with councillors At the last meeting 22 residents attended.

Monday, 1st August 2011, 6:26 pm

WI – At the 517th meeting of Simonstone with Read WI, speaker David Fishwick stepped in at the last minute to talk about his work with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

He recalled that, after finishing his career as an engineer, he found that he was being asked more and more to walk friends and families’ dogs, as he had time available. Eventually, thinking he might like a dog of his own, he started to explore the idea, but at the same time he came across the need for puppy walkers for the Guide Dogs Association. Mrs Fishwick was initially reticent, but as they are now on their sixth dog, she must have been won over.

Members were introduced to Jackie, who, at 13 months, has almost finished her basic training at the puppy stage. At 14 months she will progress to the Guide Dog Centre at Atherton and, if suitable, onto Leamington Spa to complete her training and be matched with her new owner. Jackie is half German shepherd and half retriever, bred to find the best characteristics of both breeds. It costs £1 a day to feed a dog, and there are 1,300 new puppies a year so the feed bill is £40,000 a month

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Mr Fishwick closed his enjoyable talk by explaining how he is often mistaken for a blind person when crossing roads with his puppy, and has many times been yanked by the arm and walked across the road, whether he wanted to go or not.

A competition for the most attractive Italian souvenir was won by Angela Sutcliffe, Katherine Wignell and Margaret Sutcliffe.

The next meeting is on August 18th when the speaker will be Tracy Balko and the subject tai chi.