Social Services

Sprucing up a school for dogs

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Training School in Woodford Green, London, provides fully trained dogs to those who are blind or partially blind. The training school that XL Catlin visited as part of Global Day of Giving was in need of an overhaul, so the volunteers were able to assist by re-decorating and cleaning. The volunteers provided all the equipment for the decorating and contributed towards the equipment needed to train the dogs.

Julie Robinson, who initially arranged the project, sponsors a guide dog puppy. She had previously arranged for a representative from Guide Dogs for the Blind to visit XL Catlin’s London office, along with a working guide dog and his owner, a puppy walker and a guide dog puppy. The visit was so well received by colleagues that Julie thought it would be a great idea if the office could help them further by arranging a Global Day of Giving project for them.

Project Leader Shamita Kashyap got involved because she feels strongly about the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Being a good corporate citizen is more than just sticking to your job description,” says Shamita. “It is important to recognize that a collective effort can result in positive changes for those who are in need of it, and I think this is deeply embedded in our company’s culture.”

Shamita also felt she gained a lot from the experience: “I am really glad I decided to lead this project. It was an opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone, to meet new people and also develop some leadership skills which will be useful as I develop my career path”.

The majority of colleagues who were involved in the project own or have previously owned dogs or are, in general, animal lovers, so supporting the Guide Dogs for the Blind seemed natural - and made an interesting day for the volunteers.

“Getting involved with the project was a great opportunity for everyone to learn about the process surrounding dog training and how much of an impact the dog has on an owner's life,” says Shamita. ”Some of these dogs are with young children who have been born blind and stay on with them into their adult life. Being a part of the project was also a great team building opportunity… I think it also made everyone realize that one day can actually make a huge difference.”

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