Interested in Becoming a Guide Dog Puppy Raiser?
Do you love puppies? Do you have some spare time? You could be just what Guide Dogs Australia is looking for in a Guide Dog puppy raiser.
Puppy raisers are responsible for feeding, grooming and exercising their puppy daily, along with basic obedience, house-training, and visits to the vet when needed. It’s not all serious, though. They are still puppies so they need to play and they’ll lap up affection.
There are some conditions. To be a puppy raiser you need to be home most of the day because they need to be used to human company and they also need to be indoor puppies. You need to have a fenced yard and access to a car to transport your puppy. You will also need to attend puppy training school and socialisation days. Finally, you need to be located in a metropolitan area (e.g. Sydney) so you are close enough to a Guide Dogs centre that a team member can come out to check up on the puppy.
Guide Dogs Australia provide all the equipment your puppy will need, including a bed, leash and a food bowl. They will also cover all veterinary costs associated with having a puppy. Typically, you will have the puppy for around 12 months. They become available for puppy raising at around 8 weeks, and are ready to commence their Guide Dog training at around 14 months.
When your role as a puppy raiser is completed, you are invited to a puppy-raising intake day – when you’ll return the pup to its new home at the Guide Dogs centre. Guide Dogs can keep you updated on your puppy’s progress throughout training if you would like, and then you are invited to their graduation ceremony once they have completed their training and are ready to go out and change someone’s life.
I know I would have a tough time giving the puppies back (I’m envisaging someone having to pry the pup out of my arms), but it’s a great idea for someone who loves dogs, but can’t make the long term commitment necessary when adding your own dog to your family. It’s also not a bad idea for kids who want a dog, but need to learn just how much work goes into looking after one before they have their own (as long as it is clear that they have to give the puppy back).
Guide Dogs Australia are desperate for puppy raisers, with demand only increasing. They need around 40 new carers in Sydney alone. If you really can’t see yourself being a puppy raiser, you might consider donating to them. They run solely on donations from the community and from businesses, with no support from the government. It costs around $30,000 to train up a new Guide Dog, so every dollar helps.