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Guide Dogs for the Blind appeals for puppy raisers

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is appealing for volunteers to become puppy raisers, to help them to become guide and assistance dogs.

The charity provides training and ongoing support to each puppy raiser, and all veterinary fees and feeding costs are covered by Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, it said.

Equipment such as crates and leads, are also provided, as well as care for the pup when a puppy raiser goes on holiday.

Ambassador for the charity, Ireland and Munster fly-half Jack Crowley, said raising a puppy helps to change someone’s life.

Reggie (L) is still in training to become a guide dog

His family has raised many pups who went on to become guide and assistance dogs.

“Puppy raising was part of family life growing up,” he said.

“We all got involved, helping each pup to socialise, learn the basics of obedience, and experience everyday activities such as traveling on buses, trains, and even going to some of my games.

“It’s a huge commitment, but we knew that every time a pup left to start formal training, we had given it a significant start in its journey to changing someone’s life.

“Every time I visit the centre now, I’m tempted to sign up again.”

Puppies in training like Tori (pictured) must not be left alone for more than four hours

Puppy raising can fit in with most people’s everyday lives, puppy raising supervisor Shereen Pearson said.

“Anyone can apply. Retired people and families with children generally make good puppy raisers, but many combine their role by bringing their pup to the office a couple of days a week, attending appointments, and visiting family and friends.

“The important thing is that the person is able to spend time caring for and teaching the puppy.”

Requirements to becoming a puppy raisers include:

  • There should be no more than two dogs in the home. All dogs should be over 12 months old, neutered/spayed, up to date on all vaccinations, and well-behaved around other dogs.
  • The puppy must not be left alone for more than four hours.
  • You have a fully enclosed garden with walls or fences minimum 1.52m (5ft) high.
  • Puppy will live inside, day and night.
  • Children in the home must be over five years of age.
  • You must be 18 years or older, but the whole family can get involved.

Free webinars are conducted regularly by the charity and more information is available here.

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