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Guide Dog puppies looking for loving homes on National Puppy Day

On National Puppy Day, 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.

Currently, Guide Dogs are looking for volunteers across areas such as Greater Sydney, Newcastle and Central Coast, Canberra and Wollongong and South Coast to help care for the labra-dorable pups, nurturing their development ahead of their formal Guide Dog training. 

To celebrate and educate the community, this Thursday 23 March between 10am – 11am, Guide Dogs is hosting a special Facebook Live to go behind the scenes at a Puppy Raising training class with a Guide Dogs Puppy Development Advisor to showcase what is involved in being a Puppy Raiser.

Volunteer Puppy Raisers play a critical role in transforming puppies into fully-fledged Guide Dogs that 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.

During this year Raisers are also able to 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.

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.

"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."

"Working 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."

Guide Dogs NSW, Samantha O’Keeffe, Acting Puppy Development Manager said "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”.

Puppy Raisers need to have a fully fenced yard, leave the puppy alone for no more than three hours a day, have access to a car and be able to attend training sessions 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 have lots of time to give, 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 O’Keeffe 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 O’Keeffe said.

It takes over two years and costs $50,000 to raise 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:

If you missed the Facebook Live, you can watch this Guide Dogs Victoria puppy training class here:

[Video description: Puppy Development Advisor, Alex and Puppy Raiser Cathy sit in the Guide Dogs Victoria enclosed enrichment area with yellow Labrador Guide Dog-in-training puppy Hollie in between them. In the background, a puppy training class is occurring with Hollie's brothers and sisters (all which are Yellow in colour) and their Puppy Raisers.]

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