A Premier League footballer, who will be a familiar name to many football fans regularly has his mum at matches, but not just to watch her son play. Ryan Shawcross, originally from North Wales, plays football for Stoke City and his mum is often at games as she uses the Premier League stadiums as a venue to train guide dog puppies to deal with noisy environments. Val Shawcross, from Buckley, near our Ruthin dog friendly caravans is a volunteer puppy walker for the charity, Guide Dogs. Val was originally a nurse by trade but since retiring has become a puppy walker and has been actively doing so for the past three years. Val looks after a dog when they reach just seven weeks of age and devotes her time to training them right up until they get to 14-months-old. During that time, she teaches them a range of skills from basic obedience to various social skills. As well as going to watch some of the world’s best footballer’s in action, Val also takes them to restaurants, and supermarkets as well as travelling on public transport as a way of making them integrated and comfortable in day-to-day situations that include busy scenarios. So why does Val go to the Premier League matches? Well, apart from when she gets a moment to see her son plying his trade, she uses the grounds to “iron out any little problems”. Val said: “Things like when they’re in the supermarket not to eat the food or if they’re in a restaurant making sure they don’t jump up at the table.” She added: “Ryan is really supportive and I have taken the puppies to home matches. “The team regularly gets home crowds of over 27,000 people, and it’s a good experience because it’s really noisy so it gets the dogs used to different environments. “Ryan’s children also love the pups when I take them round there as well.” After 14 months, the dogs return to the charity for advanced training and usually by the age of two go to live with their owner providing an invaluable service. Keep up the good work Val! Image courtesy of mirkoia21/Instagram.