Locals asked to put their best paw forward to raise and prepare guide dog pups

Lachlan Roberts 27 September 2018

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is looking for puppy raisers to care for 10-15 cute bundles of fur until they’re ready to head to the guide dog training centre. Photo: Supplied.

Can you offer a loving home to a puppy and help it prepare for the important role of becoming a fully-fledged working guide dog?

Canberrans are being asked to play an invaluable role in preparing pups for their career as a guide dog, as Guide Dogs NSW/ACT bring its highly popular volunteer puppy raising program to the region for the first time.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is looking for puppy raisers to care for 10-15 cute puppies until they’re ready to head to the guide dog training centre, with the bundles of fur needing to find a home before Christmas.

This is the first time the ACT will have a dedicated puppy development adviser and program based out of a Canberra office, and the aim is to eventually increase the number of pups being raised in the ACT to 30.

CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Dale Cleaver said that as demand for guide dogs grows significantly within Australia due to our actively ageing population, so does the need to raise and train more guide dog puppies.

“We are so excited to bring puppy raising to Canberra and the ACT and allow locals here the opportunity to be a part of such a rewarding program,” Mr Cleaver said. “We value the strong supporter base we have in the ACT and it’s a great way that we can work with the local community to give more guide dog puppies the love and care they need during their first 12 months.”

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT puppy development manager Karen Hayter is looking for puppy raising volunteers to care for a guide dog puppy from when it is eight weeks old to 14 months old.

“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,” Ms Hayter 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 be able to attend training days in their local area. Puppy raisers must also be available for information sessions, vet checks and puppy pre-school when required.

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 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.

“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.

“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 has sight loss.”

In Australia, every day, 28 people are diagnosed with sight loss that cannot be corrected, including nine who will become blind. An estimated 122,000 people in the state of NSW and the ACT have a vision impairment serious enough to affect their everyday lives.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is now accepting applications for volunteer puppy raisers in the ACT and you can apply by clicking here or calling (02) 4579 7555. Information sessions for interested puppy raisers will be held in November.

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