The blind puppy who is relying on human help

Labradors are renowned for their skills as guide dogs, acting as their owners' eyes on the world.

But an 11-month-old puppy is reliant on humans to help her to see better after she was born partially blind. Maggie found herself in the care of the Norfolk and north Suffolk branch of Labrador Rescue when she was 12 weeks old. The black labrador was born with congenital cataracts and a condition known as ocular nystagmus, where the wandering movement of the eye means they cannot focus on an object long enough for the brain to process it.

Since being adopted by Angela Sharman and finding a home in Lowestoft, Maggie has become a happy, playful puppy. But her disability means that she struggles in an unfamiliar environment.

Now, Mrs Sharman, a deputy co-ordinator and foster carer at Labrador Rescue, is trying to raise the �3,500 needed to have Maggie's cataracts removed. It is not a cure, but it will greatly improve her sight and quality of life.

'I will often foster the dogs with problems or health issues,' said Mrs Sharman, who owns four rescue labradors.

'It's very common for them to come in needing some kind of treatment before they can be rehabilitated and rehomed, but Maggie is going to stay with me now because she's settled and in an environment she knows.

'People don't think that labradors need rescuing because they're such a popular dog, but we re-home hundreds every year.'

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Fellow dog fosterer Sharon Parker, who became involved when she adopted her dog through the charity two years ago, has organised a jumble sale in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft, to help raise funds for Maggie's operation.

It will take place at Uplands Community Centre in Ashburnham Way at 2pm tomorrow

Donations of clothes, toys and bric-a-brac can be dropped off today at 54 Chestnut Avenue, Oulton Broad.

Issuing some advice to dog lovers who are considering becoming foster carers Miss Parker said: 'It is the most rewarding thing to see a dog find a good home.'

Among its services, the charity pays for all food and medical bills while a dog is in a foster home. It also runs a follow up service for the dogs it rehabilitates.

'The charity always goes back to the homes to follow up,' said Mrs Sharman.

'You're never left on your own. Once a dog comes to Labrador Rescue, it's a Labrador Rescue dog for the rest of its life.'

The charity was formed in 1996 when a number of rescue groups amalgamated.