Volunteer as a Puppy Raiser | Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

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05 February, 2018

Volunteer as a Puppy Raiser

Ranine sits on picnic rug next to a puppy

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is urgently seeking volunteer Puppy Raisers to lend a helping paw.  

Around 40 Guide Dogs puppies need to be placed, with the young pups requiring a warm, loving home for their first year.

Puppy Raising volunteers care for a Guide Dog puppy from when it is eight weeks old to 14 months old, playing an invaluable role in preparing it for its career as a Guide Dog.

Carramar resident Rania Bursic said her mother Janette’s declining eyesight was the motivation behind her volunteering to become a first-time Puppy Raiser.

“I look after Mum and with her eyesight going it got me thinking that she is lucky she has got us to look after her and do things for her, but a lot of people don’t have that. So my husband and I decided to adopt a Guide Dog puppy,” Rania said.

The Bursic family were teamed up with Ida, a beautiful black Labrador in August 2017.

“It has been fantastic and something we would encourage everyone to do. We love Ida and the only thing we are dreading is giving her up at the end of the year,” Rania said.

As Rania is home most of the day caring for her mother, it also means that she is able to fulfil the obligations of caring for a Guide Dog puppy.

Puppy Raisers need to have a fully-fenced yard, be away from home no more than four hours at a time, have access to a car and be able to attend training days in their local area.

“As well as providing lots of love and cuddles, Puppy Raisers help introduce pups to the sights, sounds and smells it is likely to encounter as a Guide Dog,” Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Puppy Development Manager, Karen Hayter said. 

Puppy Raisers must also be available to visit the Guide Dogs Centre near Windsor for information sessions, vet checks and Puppy Pre-School when required.

“We are looking for people that are home most of the time, who are interested in putting effort into training and socialising the dog. What you will get in return is a fantastic experience,” Ms Hayter said.

While Puppy Raisers are responsible for everyday activities such as grooming, house training and exercising their pups, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT provides a strong support network.

“We provide the food, veterinary care, flea and tick prevention and we’re always on hand to answer any questions and provide guidance to our Puppy Raisers,” Ms Hayter said.

Every day in Australia, 28 people are diagnosed with sight loss that cannot be corrected, including nine who will become blind.

“With the demand for Guide Dogs’ services increasing due to growing numbers of people having trouble getting around as a result of sight loss, we’re incredibly grateful for the support we receive from the community,” Ms Hayter said.

“Our volunteer Puppy Raisers make a wonderful contribution in helping to transform a playful puppy into a responsible Guide Dog that will one day change the life of someone who is blind or vision impaired.”

It takes over two years and costs more than $50,000 to raise breed, raise and train each Guide Dog. Like all of the organisation’s services, Guide Dogs are provided at no cost to those who need them.

If you would like to become a Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, please apply online at www.guidedogs.com.au/guide-dogs/puppy-raising or call the Guide Dogs Centre on (02) 4579 7555.