With 183 guide dog puppies coming to the county this year, Guide Dogs is looking for locals to sign up as Puppy Raisers and join its team of volunteers.
Puppy Raisers are volunteers who care for Guide Dogs’ puppies. Their main responsibility is to raise and care for the puppy until it’s around 12 to 16 months old, train it and get it used to lots of different sounds and smells, and expose it different environments such as cafes, shops and public transport.
Requirements for this role include having the time, good communication skills, a suitable home to bring up a puppy and being physically capable of handling a puppy which will grow quite quickly.
The roles can be found on the Guide Dogs website by typing in your postcode.
Terry Finn from Stockport, who has been a Guide Dogs Puppy Raiser since 2018, is now on his third puppy, called Aero.
“It’s the best thing I’ve done for years!” said Terry.
“The volunteering role suits us, we wanted our own pet dog, but it can be quite tying and we didn’t want a dog full time.
“You get genuine affection and love from them. It’s very rewarding.”
Anna Lucey, the volunteering coordinator for the region at Guide Dogs, said: “Being a Puppy Raiser is such a rewarding role and you really will be making a huge impact in getting our dogs well on their way to becoming life-changers.
‘”t’s a challenging role, but it’s so much fun, too.
“We get asked a lot if it’s sad giving the dog back – yes it is because you have a special bond together. But that puppy will go on to change someone’s life; your puppy will give someone with sight loss freedom and independence.
“It’s a great feeling knowing you have contributed to that.”
Puppy Raisers are provided with training and a dedicated member of staff who is available to answer all questions. Their expert staff support the volunteers throughout the whole process and offer puppy classes to attend – a great way to meet other Puppy Raisers and share advice.
For more information, visit guidedogs.org.uk.