December 3, 2012
The Story of Rufus, The Ocean Telecom Sponsored Guide Dog
Part 1: Ocean Sponsors Rufus
We’re great dog lovers at Ocean Telecom as I’m sure many of you know. Last year we chose Hounds For Heroes for our Christmas charity. They are a great group of people who provide assistance dogs to injured members of the armed forces and civilian emergency services. This year we have chosen to sponsor a Guide dog for the blind so we’re very pleased to present Rufus to you:
Rufus is a handsome six week old Labrador cross Retriever, who we hope will one day make a perfect companion for a visually impaired owner.
There are around 4600 guide dog owners is the UK who’ve had their lives transformed thanks to their four legged friends. It takes a great deal of time, patience, and of course funding to breed, raise and train a Guide Dog, so we at Ocean are proud to be help Rufus along the way.
If you’d like to learn more about Guide Dogs for the Blind please follow the link.
Part 2: Rufus’ Journey with Ocean Telecom
You may be aware that Ocean Telecom are currently sponsoring a guide dog for the blind through his training and development, in the hope that he’ll help change the life of a visually impaired person.
Well, Rufus is getting bigger and has moved in with his puppy walker Heather and her family for the next phase of his training.
Heather describes him as “bomb proof” after taking him to many varied places and environments, including schools, train stations, supermarkets and an airport. Heather says “He just sits at my feet and isn’t bothered at all. He’s a playful chap at home and really listens when you’re out and about doing obedience work”.
It’s not all work for Rufus though, he’s got a number of friends including India, another future guide dog and enjoys playing “find the teddy” with Heather’s children.
Rufus is making excellent progress and as well as displaying all the character of a future guide dog, he’s a loving and cuddly family member as well. Keep up the good work everyone, he’s coming along brilliantly.
At Ocean we’ve been very proud to sponsor a future Guide Dog through his training, with the hope that he’ll one day become a valued companion for a visually impaired person.
Rufus has now entered the next stage of puppy walking, and Heather (Rufus’s trainer) is introducing him to more challenging situations. He’s been visiting shops, garden centers and train stations, which is vital as Rufus must learn to become focused when guiding, even in busy surroundings. Heather told us that he did jump when a freight train rushed through the station, but it’s these experiences that will get Rufus used to noisy environments.
Rufus loves travelling and has had more trips on buses and trains, but his favourite mode of transport seems to be the car! “Whenever he hears the keys and sees the car door open, he jumps straight in” Heather laughed. It’s great news to hear that Rufus is unfazed when travelling, as he needs to be confident enough to accompany his future owner on any journey.
Rufus’ basic commands and obedience skills are coming along really well too. Heather told us that he has even learnt to ‘high-five!’ Whilst this may not be an essential skill, Rufus’ intelligence and willingness to learn is brilliant. Heather fondly said that Rufus is “still a cheeky boy” but that he’s very focused when training. What a star!
When he isn’t working hard, Rufus loves to socialise. Heather explained that he’s fantastic with her children, and he also enjoys free runs with his guide dog puppy pal, Nero. Heather said “he’s a happy dog, he loves everything.”
It seems Rufus is well on-track. If you’d like to see more images/videos of Rufus follow this link.
The news from Guide Dogs is that Rufus is progressing very well. He’s now left his Puppy Walker and has moved on to the Guide Dog Training School, where he’s begun the next stage of his training with Michelle.
Rufus is living in kennels, and Michelle told us that he has settled in nicely. “He’s a very playful boy and loves all the other dogs” she said, and added that he is particularly friendly with another dog she is training, Wilf! It’s great to hear that Rufus gets on well with other dogs, as he will need to be comfortable around animals when he is a fully trained guide dog.
Michelle and Rufus had only been training together for a few weeks when we met them, so Michelle had been focusing on bonding together. “We have been playing with toys, having some quiet time away from the other dogs, and generally just focusing on one-toone interaction” explained Michelle. Rufus will need to trust Michelle so that he will listen to her commands, so it’s really important for Michelle to build a strong relationship with him.
The pair have also been working on Rufus’ obedience skills. “Rufus gets distracted by the world!” laughed Michelle, and said that she is working on getting him focused before introducing him to his harness. “He needs to keep his attention on me, which he is improving lots on.” Well done Rufus!
As well as learning what style of training suits Rufus, Michelle is also getting to know his personality. “Rufus is a very affectionate, sweet boy” she said, “he loves everybody, every dog, and everything in life!”
We are so proud with how well Rufus is doing in his early training with Michelle, and can’t wait to find out how he’s progressing in his next Pupdate! Keep up the good work Rufus!
My new skill… the obstacle course!
Michelle has been training Rufus on the obstacle course, to get him used to avoiding obstacles when guiding his future owner. Rufus has been learning fast, and negotiated the course like a pro!
To see more picture of Rufus follow this link
Part 3: Rufus Finds a Job!
You may remember that Ocean have been sponsoring a guide dog through his training, with the hope that he will make the grade and become an invaluable companion for a visually impaired person. Well, congratulations Rufus! We’re very pleased to say that not only has Rufus passed his training to become a guide dog, but he has a new owner, Steve. Steve was born with Laurence Moon Beidl Syndrome, which lead to him losing his sight when he was 21.
It also looks like Rufus is going to have a pretty interesting life with Steve! Steve is an accomplished musician, travelling the world and working alongside a number of well known celebrities. Rufus now has his Puppy Passport and will be travelling to California this summer with Steve. Steve recently performed at a gig for 9000 people where he met Jessie J, “Rufus loved the attention and when I went backstage afterwards, I found Rufus snoring away”.
All of us at Ocean would like to wish Rufus and Steve the very best for the future!