Calling all puppy lovers

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Team manager of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT’s Canberra Office, Chace Richardson, with future Guide Dog prospect, Spark. Photo: Eva Schroeder.

Canberrans are being encouraged to open their homes (and hearts) to some very special puppies.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is looking for volunteers to ‘raise’ puppies for 12 months, to prepare them for their careers as Guide Dogs.

In an ACT first, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT are hoping to place 10-15 Guide Dog puppies in warm, loving homes before the Christmas period.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT provide all funding and equipment for the puppies, but puppy raisers need to have a fully fenced yard, be away from home for no longer than four hours at a time, have access to a car and be able to attend training days in their local area.

Team manager of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT’s Canberra Office, Chace Richardson, says he is “very excited” to announced the beginning of puppy raising in the ACT.

“It’s up to the caring individuals to raise and socialise the puppies,” he says. “The puppy development advisers will be checking in with all the puppy raisers.”

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT puppy development manager Karen Hayter says puppy raisers need to help introduce their charges to the sights, sounds and smells they are likely to encounter as a 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,” she says.

“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.”

One such person is Jo Weir, who says her Guide Dog Wiley has changed her life and given her more confidence.

“We are very much a team, we are partners … we are inseparable,” Jo says.

“Every day in 1,000 ways he brings joy and independence to my life … they got it right with Wiley and me.”

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is accepting applications for volunteer puppy raisers in the ACT to raise the puppies until they are around 14 months old. Information sessions for interested puppy raisers will be held in November.

For more information, visit guidedogs.com.au or phone 4579 7555.

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