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Guide Dogs NSW looking for puppy raisers during National Volunteer Week 2022

Are you ready to take on one of Australia's cutest volunteer roles?

With National Volunteer Week (16-22 May 2022) upon us, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT want to recognise the valuable contribution and support of all volunteers, who play a critical part in the organisation.

This year during National Volunteer Week, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is calling on everyday Australians to open their homes to the next generation of Guide Dog puppies by volunteering as Puppy Raisers, also known as one of Australia’s most labradorable voluntary roles.

This year’s National Volunteer Week theme is ‘Better Together’, reflecting on the fact that being a volunteer is a great way to help build communities and create a better society for everyone. Puppy Raisers achieve this by helping Guide Dogs provide a life-changing service of independence and freedom to someone who is blind or has low vision.

From around 8 weeks of age Guide Dogs are placed with volunteer Puppy Raisers who provide basic training and a loving home, so they become well socialised, confident, and focussed before they start their formal Guide Dog training twelve months later. This includes establishing good toileting, feeding, sleeping, and walking routines.

Raisers will also attend weekly training sessions so the puppy can learn basic skills such as sitting nicely when being groomed, walking nicely on a lead and developing good house manners - all of which sets them up to develop the skills they’ll need to change a life.

Guide Dogs NSW, Puppy Development Manager Karen Hayter says, "Guide Dogs wouldn’t be sustainable without the assistance of our volunteers.
"Puppy Raisers are a tremendous support to the community and ultimately help Australians living with blindness or low vision lead independent lives”.

Sydney-based Sian Stallworthy has been a Puppy Raiser for nearly 4 years, during which she has raised three beautiful puppies for Guide Dogs NSW. Sian is now raising Quinlee, who is 14 months and will soon be returning to Guide Dogs for his final months of training.

"The Puppy Raising process has been amazing. Not only do I get the joy of looking after a new puppy which the whole family loves, but I also get to contribute to the work of Guide Dogs, which is doing a fantastic job at supporting people with low vision and blindness."

"Since I began Puppy Raising, I have realised how crucial this stage of the Guide Dogs training program is, and how valuable the work by all the team is during this stage. But it really shows if you put the hard work in the rewards are life changing."

"Volunteering with the Guide Dogs team has also been a delight, they offer support every step of the way, as well as being very generous with their time and the supplies they provide. Puppy Raising has definitely been one of the most rewarding things I have done."

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.

“We are looking for people that are home most of the time and who are interested in putting effort into training and socialising the dog. What you get in return is a life-changing experience and knowing that you’ve positively contributed to your community,” Ms Hayter said.

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

“Guide Dogs provides 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,” Ms Hayter said.

It takes over two years and costs $50,000 to breed, raise and train each Guide Dog. Like all of the organisation’s services, Guide Dogs are provided at no cost to those who need them.

You can find out more, and apply to become a Puppy Raiser by visiting the Guide Dogs website:

MEDIA RELEASE, 17th May 2022

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