A Bexhill puppy stole the show during a royal visit from Her Majesty The Queen.
Flint, a 14-week-old Black Labrador, is part of Canine Partners – a charity transforming the lives of people living with disabilities by training assistance dogs.
When Her Majesty paid a visit to the charity’s headquarters in West Sussex, on November 30, Flint waited patiently for his turn to meet her. And he was rewarded with several royal pats from Her Majesty, who was clearly taken with the young pup.
Flint lives in Bexhill with his ‘puppy parents’ Barbara and Anthony Thomas. Puppy parents train the puppies from eight weeks old until they are 12-14 months old, when they will be ready to start advanced training at one of the charity’s training centres.
Barbara said: “My husband and I retired to Bexhill nearly 10 years ago, along with our two golden retrievers, Sophie and Oberon (Obe) to a house where the garden leads straight on to the beach. Sophie died six months later, having spent the most wonderful time discovering the sea and improving her swimming skills.
“In June, 2017, when we lost our beloved Obe. We and Titania, our black Labrador who followed Sophie, were left in the usual raw state of bereavement – yes, dogs do grieve too – made all the worse for Anthony and me because we knew in our heart of hearts that it would be irresponsible to take on another puppy of our own due to our advancing years. We had heard of Canine Partners and it took us all of five minutes to realise that this might be the solution.
“Shortly after making contact, we received a home visit from Ruth Narracott who “interviewed” us all, including Tanni. Mercifully she managed to behave appropriately, as apparently did we!
“To our absolute delight, Flint arrived at the end of October, aged seven weeks.
“We received and continue to receive enormous support and encouragement by way of home visits, telephone advice and puppy training classes, so that very soon I gained the confidence to take Flint in his puppy sling on the train, on the bus, along the beach, to the library (where we went in the lift), and to the supermarket.
“Flint is intelligent, engaging, beautiful and very, very special. We shall be sad when we have to part with him in a year or so, but he has been such a comfort already. It will be especially rewarding to know that hopefully he should be able go on to be a helpmate and companion to someone with physical disabilities.”