The December 10th Fund
Cracker's page, our sponsored guide dog in training
Cracker, our Black Dog, in training to be a guide dog with funds donated by MIM fans of Led Zeppelin. Check back for updates, posted as they are received.
In the information on Cracker, we received a calendar with interesting puppy facts (which we'll post for you each month), and an album to hold pictures of Cracker.
Thank you for sponsoring a guide dog puppy. With your help Cracker, could become a fully trained guide dog and make a real difference to the life of someone with sight loss. What's really exciting is that you can follow your puppy's journey - from his first tentative steps along the pavement, to the proud moment when he meets his guide dog owner. Your support could help with essentials such as food, training and vet's bills.
Jan 2012 Pupdate
To get you started, we've enclosed your first photo of Cracker and a special album for you to keep it in. We'll send you more photos throughout your sponsorship, showing Cracker as he grows up. You'll also receive regular 'Pupdates', with the latest news about Cracker and his progress, adventures and training; as well as lots of interesting facts about guide dogs.
We expect Cracker to be helping someone with sight loss in around 24 months, but that doesn't have to be the end of your journey. When he graduates we will introduce you to another young puppy just starting out on its training.
There's so much to learn and Cracker has got a lot of work ahead of him. Some of the tasks Cracker has ahead of him are learning important commands, finding his feet in new situations and working out how best to guide his owner through busy streets. This takes a lot of patience, time and money, so I'd like to thank you again for your very kind sponsorship. We really couldn't do it without you.
Feb 2012 Pupdate
We recently made our first visit to Durham to catch up with Cracker and his new puppy walker Yvonne to see how they have been getting on. It's amazing to see how much Cracker has grown from the tiny and very cute little puppy in his six week old puppy card to a puppy that's now well on his way to becoming a life-changing guide dog. "When he was a very young puppy he would just sit and look at everything" said Yvonne, "he really has come on leaps and bounds and is learning so fast."
Cracker's basic obedience is great. He has a naturally perfect 'sit' position which will prepare him for his kerb work when he starts at Guide Dog Training School. When guiding a blind or partially sighted person, good kerb positioning is crucial when approaching roads and crossings. "He's so clever. If he were a human he'd be Albert Einstein," laughed Yvonne.
Yvonne has been keeping Cracker very busy. It seems he is quite the little celebrity at the local supermarket; "He should have his own loyalty card there. Everyone loves him" said Yvonne. They have travelled on the bus to Sunderland several times and make regular trips in the car to Newcastle city centre and the Metrocentre. They have also been to the local train station where Cracker wasn't fazed at all, and plan to make a trip on a train very soon.
May 2012 Pupdate:
June 2013 Pupdate:
CRACKER HAS GRADUATED!
Thanks to the donations of the caring group of Led Zep fans who gave through the December 10th fund in honour of the reunion show, Cracker our 'Black Dog' guide dog has graduated and is now a fully qualified guide dog with a new owner. And the owner's name? Jim! How perfect...
Here's the latest from The Guide Dog's update:
Cracker and Jim became a qualified partnership in March after only a few weeks training together. Jim lost his sight due to Multiple Sclerosis, and was registered blind in 1988. Jim had owned a guide dog previously, but went back to using a cane after losing his dog Velma. He said, "It was difficult to adjust" and says that Cracker has brought back ease and independence into his day to day life.
Jim is a member of his local working men's club with Cracker becoming their latest sign-up. "Cracker even has his own corner" Jim laughed. "It has a 'reserved' sign up ready for his visits!"
It was clear to see how well Cracker had settled into his life with Jim, and how far the partnership has come in such a short space of time. On their usual route to the local high street, Cracker sometimes tries to persuade Jim to make a trip to the bakery. Jim laughs and says it's down to his handler Jane taking him there once and he's never forgotten!
There will be one more update on Jim and Cracker in a few months time. Well done to all of you for supporting Cracker. You've made a real difference to Jim. -Annie x