Guide Dogs Buddy Dogs – www.guidedogs.org.uk/services/buddy-dogs

Following a successful pilot, Buddy Dogs was launched as a full service in January 2012. The buddy dog service matches specially selected dogs and places them within a school or family environment for the benefit of children and young people who are blind or partially sighted.

Buddy dogs are guide dogs that haven't qualified to work as mobility assistance dogs but can improve the quality of life of children and young people who are blind and partially sighted by contributing to sensory and physical development, enhancing their confidence and self-esteem, countering isolation and depression, increasing levels of exercise and improving their communication and mobility skills. In some cases a buddy dog can help to assess whether a young person could benefit from a guide dog in the future.

There are two types of buddy dog partnerships:

Young People’s Buddy Dog within a family environment.

The dog is carefully matched to and placed with the family under the buddy dog owner agreement. The family of a child who is blind or partially sighted are given the opportunity and support to take on responsibilities for the dog i.e. feeding, grooming, exercising and establishing general obedience responses.

School or Organisation Buddy Dog. This type of partnership will benefit a larger number of children who are blind and partially sighted and enable those, who may not have the opportunity to own a dog in their home to have regular contact with a dog.

How can I apply? Enquiries and applications for the Buddy Dogs Service need to be addressed through your local mobility team.

Contact us: For further information and assistance, please contact your local mobility team