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29 October, 2015

Lend a paw this Christmas

A puppy runs on grass, with red tinsel in the background

Fill your house with puppy love this festive season by volunteering to be a short-term carer for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

The organisation is urgently seeking residents living in western Sydney to care for puppies over the Christmas and New Year period. These volunteers provide care when full-time Puppy Raisers go away for weekends or on holiday, or during the interim period between the end of training and when the Guide Dog is placed with their future handler.

Those interested in becoming full-time Puppy Raisers are also needed to care for potential Guide Dogs from the age of eight weeks to 14 months old.

"As well as providing lots of love and cuddles, a Puppy Raiser's job is to introduce their pup to the sights, sounds and smells it is likely to encounter as a Guide Dog," Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Puppy Raising Manager, Karen Hayter said.

"Our volunteers 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 almost two years and costs more than $35,000 to raise breed, raise and train each Gide Dog and Puppy Raisers play a vital role in this.

"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.

"Guide Dogs will provide food, veterinary care, flea and tick prevention and be on hand to answer any questions and provide guidance," she said.

"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 attend training days in the local area."

The Puppy Raiser and their pup also regularly visit the Guide Dogs Centre at Glossodia for vet checks and Puppy Pre-School.

Puppy Raising is a wonderful opportunity for individuals or families who may not want the lifetime commitment of having a dog of their own, and it's a great way to give back to the community.

After 12 months the confident, well-mannered, young adult dogs return to the Guide Dogs Centre to undertake formal training.

Every day in Australia, 28 people are diagnosed with vision loss that cannot be corrected, including nine who will become blind. These figures will rise by 20% in the next five years, so there is a huge demand for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's free services.

If you would like to become a short-term or full-time Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, please apply online at or call the Guide Dogs Centre at Glossodia on 4579 7555.