As five Guide Dogs graduated from training earlier this month to begin their important role in enhancing the independence of a person who is blind or vision Impaired, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is searching for more Puppy Raisers.
Volunteers from the Richmond, Penrith, lower Blue Mountains and the Hills areas are needed to look after guide dog puppies for 12-14 months from September/October this year.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is also looking for people who can provide short-term care when 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 a client.
It takes almost two years and costs more than $35,000 to raise a guide dog and Puppy Raisers play a critical part in developing a playful puppy into a responsible guide dog.
“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,” said Karen Hayter, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Puppy Raising Manager.
“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 once a month 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.
The Puppy Raiser’s role involves toilet training, teaching basic obedience and social skills, daily walks on a lead and introducing the pup to the sights, sounds and smells it is likely to encounter as a working guide dog.
Short-term carers also assist in this process. “They provide ongoing support to our full-time Puppy Raisers for weekends or longer periods. We even have some short-term carers that have a dog the whole year around,” Ms Hayter said.
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 Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT or a short-term carer, please apply online at www.guidedogs.com.au or call the Guide Dogs Centre at Glossodia on 4597 7555.