Guide Dogs issues appeal for puppy raisers in Dewsbury and Mirfield
Guide Dogs is urgently appealing for dog-lovers to sign up as puppy raisers and join its team of volunteers in Mirfield and Dewsbury.
Being a puppy raiser means being responsible for caring for the basic needs of a Guide Dogs puppy in your home for 14 months, teaching the basic demands for them to eventually become a guide dog.
Guide Dogs relies heavily on volunteers to help improve the lives of people with sight loss and is looking for people in Mirfield and Dewsbury specifically.
A puppy raiser will be responsible for socialising a puppy in different environments and exposing them to the wider world. The role will include:
Feeding, training and generally caring for a puppy's needs daily.
Developing and caring for a puppy as directed by a supervisor.
Familiarising the puppy with many different environments.
Teaching basic obedience commands.
Attending monthly puppy classes.
Requirements for a puppy raiser include time, good communication skills, and a suitable home to bring up a puppy.
Anne Proctor became a Guide Dogs puppy raiser last year. Puch was her first puppy and came to her just before the first lockdown in March 2020.
Anne said: “It’s been a real eye opener being a puppy raiser. We really enjoy it as we’ve always had our own dogs and have previously been boarders.
"While it was initially quite hard work due to lockdown and not being able to take him out as much as he was only 16 weeks, we eventually got into the swing of things with training thanks to our Guide Dogs supervisor.
“We trained Puch to go into supermarkets and not be distracted, took him on buses and trains so he got used to public transport and other people around him, and also taught him how to go up and down stairs in shopping centres.
“Puch is a beautiful dog with a lovely temperament. He knows he is handsome too!
"We will miss him but we know that we are helping Guide Dogs.”
Linda Conway, volunteering coordinator at Guide Dogs, said: “Being a puppy raiser is such a rewarding role - seeing a puppy develop into a potential guide dog, who will transform the life of someone with a visual impairment.
“Volunteering is a two-way street, so in return for your time you will get a dedicated Guide Dogs volunteer manager who will help you settle in and support you during your time with us.
“You’ll also get the challenge and reward of seeing a puppy develop in your home, and the satisfaction that you have had a pivotal role in providing guide dogs that enable people with sight loss to enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else.”
A UK-wide charity, Guide Dogs helps people with sight loss to live the life they choose and to step out into the world with confidence.
There are approximately 13,600 people living with sight loss in Kirklees, with that number expected to increase by 21 per cent by 2030.
For more information and to apply, visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/how-you-can-help/volunteering-for-guide-dogs