A LITTER of seven puppies are being sent to train as guide dogs with a £500 donation from Malvern firm Melton Support Services, where their mother’s owner Alex Willetts works as a supervisor.

Alex’s German Shepherd Yara is a breeding bitch for Guide Dogs for the Blind, who will now train the puppies which will provide life-changing support for blind and partially sighted people.

Melton Support Services, which provides management services to businesses across the medical and education sectors, has made the donation to help the charity's work as well as offering support to Alex during the latter stages of Yara’s pregnancy – granting her special “pupternity leave”.

Melanie Baker, the company's managing director, said: “Alex, Yara and their family have done an amazing thing that changes the lives of blind and partially sighted people in a fundamental way.

“We are a recognised Disability Confident employer and wanted to make it as easy as possible for Alex and Yara to bring these gorgeous puppies into the world. With a donation as well, we hope to further support the work of guide dogs.”

Alex has been volunteering with Guide Dogs since August 2016 and this is the first litter of puppies her family has cared for. She received training from the National Breeding Centre in Leamington Spa, which also provides 24-hour support.

The puppies will hopefully be working guide dogs by the time they are two years old. They are German Shepherd and Golden Retriever cross breeds and won’t be named until they have been assessed at the National Breeding Centre at between six and seven weeks old.