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27 February, 2015

Puppy Raisers needed

Five Labrador puppies sitting in a row on grass

Urgent call for Sydney volunteers to raise Guide Dog puppies

If you live in Sydney and are looking for a unique volunteering opportunity, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT urgently needs to find caring homes for 40 Guide Dog puppies-to-be.

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

"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. Integral to this is teaching the pup social skills and basic obedience," says Karen Hayter, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's Puppy Breeding and Raising Manager.

"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.

"Guide Dogs play an incredible role in enabling people with vision loss to move around safely and independently, so they can live the life they choose."

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. The organisation provides food and equipment for the puppies and covers any vet costs.

"Our experienced staff make regular visits to your home to monitor the pup's development and are just a phone call away if you have any questions," added Ms Hayter. "We also hold socialisation events to allow Puppy Raisers and puppies to learn new skills together."

The journey from puppy to Guide Dog takes about two years and costs more than $30,000.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT relies on the public's generosity to fund this cost, with each Guide Dog provided free of charge to people who need them.

The 40 puppies currently needing homes are from the latest litters in Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's breeding program that aims to meet growing demand for Guide Dogs.

Every day 28 Australians are diagnosed with uncorrectable vision loss, including nine who become blind. These figures are set to rise by 20% by 2020. Almost 40 NSW and ACT residents are currently waiting to receive a Guide Dog.


Candidates need a properly fenced backyard, access to a car and have plenty of time, as a guide dog puppy can't be left along for longer than four hours a day.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT prefers Puppy Raisers to be located in the Sydney metropolitan area so they are in close proximity to the Guide Dog Centre in Glossodia, western Sydney. Ideal suburbs include Richmond, Penrith, Lower Blue Mountains, Parramatta, the Hills District, Ryde, Pymble and Carlingford.

For more information about Puppy Raising, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has produced an informative video that can be viewed on the organisation's Youtube channel.

To apply to become a Puppy Raiser visit the Puppy Raising page or call the Guide Dogs Centre on 4579 7555.