Guide dog puppies put through their paces at Edinburgh Airport
Guide dog puppies were taken on a tour of Edinburgh Airport today as part of their training to help blind and partially-sighted fliers.
The eight dogs and their handlers, aged between nine and 14 months, also travelled on a tram to the terminal before being taken through airport security and onto a Jet2 aircraft.
The trip was arranged by Guide Dogs Scotland, which is the airport’s corporate charity for 2016.
The pups will go to training school in Forfar when they are about 14 months old.
Airport officials said the star of the show was Beau, a 14-month-old black labrador.
Helping to show the youngsters the ropes was golden retriever/labrador cross Una, who is nearly seven years old.
Chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “It was super to have Guide Dogs Scotland here at the airport.
“This visit enables the puppies to get invaluable experience to become accustomed to all aspects of the airport – including passing through security and boarding an aircraft.
“The aim of them being our official corporate charity for 2016 is to enable a deeper Understanding of the great work they do and help raise funds for their organisation.”
Edinburgh Trams general manager Lea Harrison said: “We’re committed to ensuring travel on our services is as easy and accessible as possible for all passengers, so we’re really pleased to be welcoming these four-legged trainees on board.
“All our trams have been designed with high-visibility handrails and alert buttons signposted in Braille for blind and partially-sighted tram users.
“Our staff are also trained to provide assistance.
“We are always looking to improve the experience for our passengers, and working with Guide Dogs Scotland is a great way for us to do that.”
Guide Dogs Scotland business development manager Kyla Stratton said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Edinburgh Airport as their charity of the year.
“We receive no government funding for our mobility services and therefore rely solely on the support of the public and businesses.
“Our dedicated team of volunteers is also crucial in helping us to provide our life-changing services.
“We are currently recruiting for volunteer puppy walkers and fundraising group volunteers, and would appeal to people to contact our office in Edinburgh for more information.”
Jet2 chief executive Steve Heapy said: “We were thrilled to be involved in the visit.
“The dogs provide an invaluable service in giving customers who are blind and partially-sighted the confidence to go on holiday.
“It’s vital for these dogs to become familiar with our aircraft so their handlers have a comfortable and enjoyable journey with us.”