Two guide dog brothers born nearly a decade ago have been reunited in Coventry – and cannot wait to spend their golden years together. Carlo and Chips, who are both Labrador cross Golden Retrievers, were born in 2014 in Henley-in-Arden, before they embarked on their journeys to become guide dogs.
After months of specialist training, Carlo qualified as a guide dog in January 2016 with his owner, Charles Bloch, who lives in Coventry. The following month, Chips qualified with his owner in Peterborough.
Since then, the two brothers, who came from a litter of eight, have lived separate lives, supporting their owners in their respective cities. Carlo is still partnered with Charles, who only has 10 per cent vision, and supported him while he was completing his university degree and when he worked at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.
In November last year, Charles received the exciting news that Carlo and Chips were going to be reunited. Charles said: “Carlo and Chips have crossed paths a few times over the last nine years, and whenever they’ve seen each other, they’ve always been inseparable and acted like they were puppies again.
“Last November, I found out that Chips had retired and was being rehomed. I was so surprised when I discovered that a friend of mine, who also lives in Coventry and volunteers for Guide Dogs, had been selected as his rehomer.
“We reunited the brothers for the first time on Friday 5 January in War Memorial Park, where they certainly seemed to recognise each other and had the best time racing around together. Both myself and my friend are part of the local Guide Dogs fundraising group, so Carlo and Chips will be able to enjoy attending fundraising events together as well as lots of park trips over the coming months.”
For some guide dog owners, their retired dog continues to live with them as a pet dog, as they can still meet all the dog’s needs. For others, this may be more challenging, so Guide Dogs aims to provide support in finding a suitable retirement home for their dog, so the dog can receive the best care in its older years.
Fin Findlay, who has rehomed retired guide dog Chips, said: “Chips has settled in brilliantly and already feels part of the family. He had a great time being reunited with Carlo earlier this month and they ran around together like they were puppies again.
“I’m sure they are going to have so much fun together, now they’ve been reunited in Coventry.” Fin added: “The fundraising group Charles and I are part of is also a social meeting place and we meet for coffee and go out for meals. They are a lovely group.”