How the pandemic has affected guide dog owners and those waiting for dogs

Video report by Tim Scott.

The Guide Dogs training centre in Atherton, Greater Manchester, trains dozens of dogs every year to be sent out to help blind people - but like so many businesses, they have been hit hard by the lockdowns.

The organisation has had to stop its breeding programme for five months, which has meant there are now fewer dogs available for potential owners.

  • Clip of Penny Anderson, Operations Manager, Guide Dogs

And for people who already own a guide dog, stories of recent animal thefts have left them wary when out on our streets. Marie Howarth hasn't had any bad experiences with her dog Bertie, but she has started to become suspicious when members of the public approach.

Marie told Granada Reports: '"I've been a guide dog owner for fifteen years and you usually get the 'what's his name? how old is he?' which are perfectly normal questions - but then you start hearing 'oh, is he really good? Does he like other dogs? Will he fight? Is he aggressive?' And those are the questions that make you worry a bit more because you kind of think, well what's your motive for that question?"'

  • Clip of Marie Howarth, guide dog owner.