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Meet Breck, a talented golden retriever recently retired from an eight-year career in partnership with a highly experienced owner, whose job has entailed travelling all over the UK.

Breck’s steadiness and adaptability proved to be essential qualities for success in guiding at this advanced level.

Breck the guide dog and official Retired Dog collar
Breck has a special collar to identify him as a retired guide dog.

Kate Fairweather chats with Breck’s owner, John Welsman, who talks through what the guiding job entails, and how Breck distinguishes between being on and off duty.

John shares some fascinating insights into the responsibilities and challenges facing both parties, and explains the evolution of this richly complex partnership over time. Breck is John’s sixth guide dog.

Portrait of golden retriever Breck, sitting, wearing  his guiding harness, looking alert, mouth open.
Breck in his prime, photographed wearing the distinctive guide dog harness.

John works for the UK’s Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which makes him something of an expert on guide dogs. It also added an ambassadorial dimension to Breck’s working role.

John Welsman sitting in the sunshine, smiling and ruffling Breck's neck with blue sky behind.
Breck and John’s working partnership has morphed into an affectionate relationship between owner and family pet.

John explains how the dynamics of the relationship between them have changed now that Breck has retired and become a family pet for him and his wife, Jan.

John is currently waiting for his new guide dog. When the new guide dog arrives, Breck will remain with the family as a much loved pet, while John’s new guide dog partner starts work.

Golden retriever Breck lies on the grass, contentedly chewing a twig in the warm sunshine
Now fully retired, Breck has time to enjoy doggy delights – he can chew contentedly on a twig for as long as he likes!