Our buddy dogs bring a new friend into the lives of children with sight loss. By helping to develop their self-confidence, improve relationships and build a greater sense of trust, these dogs can have a hugely positive effect on your child’s wellbeing.
A buddy dog is:
• A friendly, well-behaved pet dog.
• A great way to show your child the responsibility of caring for a dog.
• Able to help your child increase their physical activity, build confidence, create better relationships with others, and develop a sense of fun and trust.
• Looked after and paid for by your family, including vets’ bills and insurance, but is owned by Guide Dogs.
A buddy dog is not a guide dog, so it cannot be used as a mobility aid for sighted assistance. As with a pet dog, it may be refused entry to public places such as shops, cafes and schools, or taxis and hire cars.
Is my family suitable for a buddy dog?
Buddy dogs are suited to children with vision impairment between the ages of 4 and 18 years, or 19-25 years with additional needs. They can be of huge benefit to your child and family but they also need plenty of care and commitment throughout their lives.
• You and your family must be able to look after the dog and make sure it remains safe and healthy. This includes not leaving the dog alone for more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period.
• All members of your family should be able to interact appropriately with the dog.
• Your buddy dog needs to be exercised and when out walking, an adult must always be holding on to the lead – your child must not walk the dog on their own.
• And in social situations too, an adult must accompany your child and buddy dog at all times.