Guide dog training school, and the inner workings of a hotel for Mearns Probus Club

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Two events have taken place on consecutive Mondays, the first being a visit to Forfar to the Training School for the Guide Dogs.

Situated just off the A90 in Orchardbank Business Park, this fairly recently built centre replaced the old premises off the Dundee Loan in Forfar, once the main road to Dundee. The new premises can keep up to 120 dogs whilst training and has an indoor arena, a lecture area and other facilities for grooming, veterinary inspections and an interesting room set out with furniture similar to a household. From an adjacent room with one-way viewing, the dog can be assessed as to it’s behaviour when left alone in a domestic situation.

Outside there are fenced off areas where various activities can take place whilst monitoring the dogs’ actions. One area is sand covered and this is where the dogs will have free time to exercise and play. A sensory garden is amongst the outdoor facilities.

Our members saw how three young dogs just over a year old were undergoing training, in obedience, food refusal, commands to sit and come forward, as well as a course of obstacles similar to street furniture, overturned bicycles, bushes, lamp standards and so on.

To complete our visit, we adjourned to a new restaurant nearby for lunch.

Our second regular meeting for the month was held in the Crown Inn, Laurencekirk. The President welcomed Emma Niley, a granddaughter of Past President Lawrie Smith, who talked on Hotel Organisation and Operations.

Emma works in a large hotel in London, fairly recently opened in 2013, in a building that was used by Marconi for his first broadcast. With a staff of over 300, Emma is in charge of day-to-day operations. With up to 300 guests per night, ensuring their comfort is paramount. Restaurants are also available for non-residents and are well patronised daily. Emma spoke of co-operation between other large hotels nearby, when overbooking has occurred and even to helping out with laundry and bedding in emergencies.

This had been a totally different presentation on a subject never having been discussed before.

Ian Williamson gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the club members.