Volunteers needed to lend a helping paw to raise Guide Dog puppies

A Guide Dog puppy could be the paw-fect four-legged companion for you.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT desperately needs volunteers to lend a helping paw with raising puppies.

Volunteers will need to prepare the puppy from when it is eight weeks old to 14 months old for its career as a guide dog.

Guide Dogs’ puppy development manager Karen Hayter said volunteers needed to provide the puppies with 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,” she said.

Puppy raisers need to have a fully-fenced yard, not be away from home for more than four hours at a time, have access to a car and be able to attend training days in their local area.

Volunteers must also be available to visit the Guide Dogs Centre near Windsor for information sessions, vet checks and puppy preschool when required.

Puppy raisers are responsible for everyday activities such as grooming, house training and exercising their pups and Guide Dogs provides a strong support network.

“We provide the food, veterinary care, flea and tick prevention and we’re always on hand to answer any questions and provide guidance to our puppy raisers,” Ms Hayter said.

It takes over two years and costs more than $35,000 to breed, raise and train each guide dog. Guide Dogs are provided at no cost to those who need them.

Guide dogs-in-training will also don new harnesses as their work uniform.

The new coats will make guide dogs-in-training more easily recognised when working.

The new coats feature a reflective bright orange colour for visibility and are made of a highly breathable material to keep the dogs cool – and looking cool – when they are working.  

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT executive officer Dale Cleaver reminded people that if they spot a dog in one of the coat that the dog should not be distracted.

“When you see a trainee guide dog wearing one of our new coats in the community, it means they are on an important journey and working towards fulfilling the life-changing role of being someone’s guiding eyes,” Mr Cleaver said.

“Whether a dog is walking, sitting or sleeping, a guide dog should not be patted, fed or distracted.  It also means these dogs are legally allowed to go everywhere their trainer or handler can, with the exception of operating theatres and the zoo.”

To apply, visit: www.guidedogs.com.au/guide-dogs/puppy-raising or call 4579 7555.

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