Oxfordshire business owner sponsors ‘sweet and charming’ Guide Dogs pup Ralph

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Mike Gambrill of oven cleaning service Ovenu Bicester & Banbury is supporting Guide Dogs’ pup Ralph throughout his extensive training programme.

The yellow Golden Retriever/Labrador cross replaces black Lab Selsey, which Ovenu franchisees first started sponsoring in 2021.

Although excelling in training, Selsey developed a slight weakness in one hip which meant she was unable to progress to become a working Guide Dog. Despite the setback, Andy is continuing his support of the charity by sponsoring Ralph.

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Now aged 10 months, Ralph is spending time with Puppy Raisers Toni and Adrian, two of the 16,000 volunteers that work with Guide Dogs. He will remain with them until he’s 12 to 14-months-old before being considered for full Guide Dog training, with the longer-term ambition of being assigned to a visually impaired person.

Guide Dogs trainee pup Ralph and Mike GambrillGuide Dogs trainee pup Ralph and Mike Gambrill
Guide Dogs trainee pup Ralph and Mike Gambrill

So far Ralph is settling in well and is described as “sweet and charming”. His latest report card says he is brilliant at boarding public transport and is confident in busy environments, while his food manners are ‘almost there.’

Mike, who launched the business in 2018 after spending more than 20 years as store and area manager for Pets at Home, said: “Guide Dogs is a fantastic charity and I’m pleased to be able to give something back by supporting its life changing work. These dogs provide those with sight loss greater mobility, independence, social interaction - as well as companionship.

“It’s also a way of saying a huge thank you to my clients who, without their continued support, I wouldn’t be in a position to sponsor this adorable pup!”

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Guide Dogs’ CEO Andrew Lennox said: “It costs approximately £56,000 to support each guide dog through from birth to retirement, and without all the contributions of our donors and the efforts of our fundraisers we would not be able to do what we do.”

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