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Jilly's Story



Jilly was born in July 2021, just one month after I got put on the guide dogs waiting list. Jilly’s mum Ruby is half lab and retriever, and her dad Orwell is a full golden retriever, giving Jilly her gorgeous golden coat and retriever features. However she definitely has the Labrador appetite!

At eight weeks old Jilly went to live with her wonderful puppy raiser in the beautiful Essex countryside. She stayed here for eight months learning all of the good behaviours that make for a well mannered dog. Her puppy raiser gave her the nickname Princess because of her good looks, cheeky personality and particular habits.

Originally the intention was for Jilly to be kept for breeding due to her good genes, but the plans changed as her dad Orwell developed an eye condition that could have been passed on to his children. This meant that after Jilly’s first birthday she moved in with her lovely foster family in north London to start big school where she would learn how to be a guide dog!

The training normally takes between three and six months, but it took Princess Jilly longer as she broke her front paw when she tripped in a pothole whilst running excitedly across Hampstead Heath. At the end of May 2023 I received  a phone call telling me to come to the guide dog office in Central London. Little did I know what would be waiting there for me!

I remember walking around the corner and being greeted by a stunning fluffy girl with a fabulous swishing tail, adorable smile and twinkling brown eyes that would melt your heart. It’s safe to say I fell in love there and then. After a two hour matching walk it was clear that we were a perfect pair, with Jilly responding instantly to my instructions and trotting along in step with one another.

As the matching walk went so well, she came a month later for a sleepover to determine if she liked living with me. Safe to say she made herself at home, and we began five weeks of training led by the amazing Barry O’Toole who ran our class. I learned everything from the dog commands, to grooming and feeding and guide dog access laws.

The training was a great success and we passed with flying colours and were officially made a partnership in the July.
Since then princess Jilly and I have become inseparable. She has filled that missing piece I was born without, not just behind my eyes but in my heart.

So many adventures had and many more to come.

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