Being a Puppy Raiser means being responsible for caring for a Guide Dogs puppy in your home for 12-16 months, teaching them basic commands, familiarising them with many different environments, and attending monthly puppy classes.
It’s a hugely important role – a vital link in the chain of dog socialisation and training, providing the puppy with a vital foundation for its future as a life-changing guide dog.
Applicants should ideally be located in or near to postcodes WF2 and WF16.
Requirements for a Puppy Raiser include time; good communication skills; a suitable home to bring up a puppy, and being physically capable of handling a puppy which will inevitably grow quite rapidly!
Anne Proctor became a Guide Dogs Puppy Raiser in 2020. Puch was her first puppy and came to her just before the first lockdown.
She 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 volunteer is so rewarding and you really will be making a huge impact in getting our dogs well on their way to becoming life-changers.
“Yes it can be a challenge but it’s also lots of fun and many of our Puppy Raisers go on to look after several puppies as they love it so much. You’ll also get the reward of seeing a dog 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.
“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.
A UK-wide charity with a community team based in Leeds, 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 68,800 people living with sight loss in West Yorkshire with that number expected to increase by 19% by 2030.
For more information and to apply, please follow this link and type in your postcode: www.guidedogs.org.uk/how-you-can-help/volunteering-for-guide-dogs