With Guide Dogs NSW/ACT celebrating the arrival of its latest Guide Dog litters, the hunt is now on to find volunteer puppy raisers in our part of the world.
Up to 20 volunteers in the Newcastle region are urgently needed to help prepare these little bundles of cute into fully-fledged Guide Dogs.
“We are after around 20 families or individuals, specifically in the Newcastle area and also around the Maitland area to come into our program and look after our pups from around eight weeks of age until they’re 12 months old,” Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Puppy Development Manager Karen Hayter told Newcastle Live.
“What they will do is socialise the puppy, care for the puppy, pick the kids up from school, and give them as much socialisation as they can, as well as other things like house training them and getting them used to the different noises in the home.”
Karen added that volunteers would also be required to take the puppies to training sessions once a week until they are four months old and then fortnightly until the puppy starts its formal Guide Dog training at around 14 months.
“We’re after people who can spend a fair bit of time with the puppies and not be away from them for more than four hours a day,” Karen said.
“If they do work, but are able to take the puppy with them, that it totally fine, too.”
Potential puppy raisers also need to have a fully fenced yard, access to a car, and be available for information sessions, vet checks and puppy pre-school when required.
“People take part in this program for a variety of reasons – some may have retired and don’t have a dog of their own, before COVID a lot wanted to travel so it was convenient to have one of our pups for 12 months and go off and travel, and some just want to do something positve for the community,” Karen said.
And the great thing about this program is that puppy raisers can stick with it for as long as they like beyond the initial commitment.
“One of our puppy raisers is up to their 22nd puppy and we’ve got raisers who look after one puppy and move on with their own dog and others who will take on up to six years of work with us,” Karen added.
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 you will have a dedicated Puppy Development Adviser on hand to answer any questions and provide guidance to our Puppy Raisers,” Karen said.
“By volunteering as a puppy raiser, the community can help to ensure Australians who are blind or have low vision can lead the most independent lives possible.”
If you are interested in applying or finding out more information about the Puppy Raising Program head here.