Help raise the next generation of Guide Dogs

Published 5:00am 9 July 2022

Help raise the next generation of Guide Dogs
Words by Kylie Knight

There are 20 adorable Labrador puppies that need your help.

Guide Dogs Queensland Canine Development Manager Nicci Cahill says the organisation is urgently looking for people to help raise and train the pups to become life-changing guide dogs for people with low vision and blindness.

“We have a number of litters coming through our nursery currently that need to be matched with volunteer puppy raisers,” Nicci explains.

“We are needing people in the Moreton Bay Region community, who have always wanted to give back and help raise a guide dog, to make 2022 the year to do so.

“Moreton Bay Region is the perfect training ground for a future guide dog, as it provides all of the environments we like our dogs to be exposed to during training – busy environments such as shopping centres, cafes and restaurants, as well as access to public transport and exposure to people in the community with other dogs.

|“We have always had a strong community of volunteer puppy raisers in the area and a lot of our trainers in the Moreton Bay Region as well.”|

Guide Dogs Queensland covers all food and veterinary costs, and provides equipment and training.

“We only ask you for your time and love of our gorgeous pups, and we are extremely grateful for everyone who does give this time to help raise a puppy, and in-turn help someone currently waiting for a guide dog.”

To find out more and to apply, visit raiseapup.com.au

Help raise the next generation of Guide Dogs

Rewarding experience

Puppy raiser and Ningi resident Tracey Hollens-Riley will hand over her sixth dog on Tuesday and says it is an experience she would recommend to others.

“It’s a fantastic thing to do ... if I can give someone the freedom I take for granted in having sight,” Tracey explains.

“I enjoy understanding how dogs think, so it was a no-brainer for me. It’s been a great experience and I really enjoy doing it.”

Tracey says she’s always had dogs and when her last two dogs passed away, she was in a quandary.

“If I got one dog, I didn’t want to leave it at home all day by itself so I thought I would need to get two dogs and that’s a big commitment,” she explains.

Tracey decided she wouldn’t have any more dogs, but when she heard about Guide Dogs Queensland’s Puppy Raiser program in 2017 she decided it was a ‘win, win’.

She can enjoy the company of a puppy, be an integral part of its training and take it everywhere with her.

Tracey works in a shared office space, which is dog-friendly. Other people using the space have respected the Guide Dog, named Ruby, and understood the difference between her and pet dogs which also visit from time to time.

|“I think I have been very lucky to have been able to do it,” she says.|

So, is it hard to hand over the dogs at the end of their six-month stay?

“It’s always hard. I’m quite an emotional person, so I get emotional,” Tracey explains.

“The first one was the hardest. You really learn a lot from your first dog. They teach you things about yourself.

“You go in with the mindset they’re not mine. I’m the caretaker for the next six months. With that mindset, it makes it a bit easier.”

Criteria for being a volunteer puppy raiser

• Over the age of 18 years

• Have a safe and secure home and yard

• Have time to dedicate to a puppy for 6+ months

• Are at home most of the time (working from home, semi-retired, part-time)

• Flexibility to attend classes during weekdays

• Able to visit Guide Dogs at Bald Hills for classes

• Access to internet and phone

• A driver’s licence and access to a vehicle

To find out more and to apply, visit raiseapup.com.au

Help raise the next generation of Guide Dogs

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