Staff at Warwickshire Golf Club have waved goodbye to its 'best friend and unofficial greenkeeper' - 17-month-old guide dog puppy Prince
Prince, a yellow Labrador cross Golden Retriever, moved to live with Daniel Rowe, the club’s course manager, when he was around seven weeks old.
Daniel, from Warwick, volunteers as a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs and Prince is the eighth guide dog puppy he’s looked after.
Prince has spent the last 16 months with Daniel, spending almost every day at the golf club, which is in Leek Wootton.
He’s had to get used to early starts and different sights and sounds at the club including buggies, mowers, tractors and meeting lots of different members and staff.
As his puppy raiser, Daniel was responsible for introducing Prince to different environments and teaching him basic commands, helping to prepare him for the next stage of his training.
Daniel said: “Many of our members will have seen Prince either while golfing or walking the buggy paths during lockdown.
“Prince is happy and relaxed around people and naturally inquisitive.
“He came to the golf course each day during lockdown and even helped out when the drive needed gritting to keep the vaccination centre going.
“We hope that he has lots of fun in training and a great life with his new owner.
“He’s a true people-pleaser and, just as he’s been a best friend for us here at the club, he will make a great best friend for someone with sight loss too.
“All the Greenkeepers will miss him.”
Prince has now started his training at the Guide Dogs Midlands Regional Centre, based in Leamington.
During the day he will carry out training exercises with his Guide Dog Trainer and in the evenings and weekends he will live with a volunteer Fosterer, near the centre.
In normal circumstances, most trainee guide dogs qualify as working guide dogs by the age of two.
The Centre closed for three months last year due to the pandemic, which meant around 70 trainee guide dogs had to take a break from training.
This year Guide Dogs celebrates its 90th anniversary, with the first guide dog partnership in the UK qualifying in 1931.