by Steven Doucette,
Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind is seeking volunteer puppy raisers in Kemptville and Eastern Ontario. This is a long-term volunteer commitment of twelve to eighteen months. The volunteer raises the puppy in their home, teaching basic obedience and socialization. However, the unique part of this volunteer position is taking the puppy nearly everywhere you go. Support is provided from professional staff from Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.
You’ll need to be able to spend most of the day with the puppy, not leaving it alone for more than a couple of hours at a time. These pups are raised with the intention of being with someone 24/7 as a working guide dog. Pups are placed into homes at approximately eight weeks of age, so you will be housebound for a short time. Once the puppy’s vaccinations are in place, around four months of age, you will be asked to take the puppy anywhere you go and introduce it to as many environments and situations as possible, that it may later encounter as a guide dog.
If you work outside of the home, you would start with a sixteen-week old puppy, so that vaccinations are in place and you can take the puppy to work and public areas immediately. You are expected to take the pup for daily long walks in all weather conditions, so an active lifestyle is preferred.
This is a unique volunteer opportunity, and you could help play a role in changing someone’s life. Would you be a suitable candidate for a volunteer position like this? The main thing is that the pup not be left at home alone all day. Current volunteers include stay-at-home parents, post-secondary students, individuals who work from home or have their own business, part-time workers, or retirees. Puppy raisers, who are employed full-time and have permission from their employer, can have the puppy in the workplace. It’s a great way for a company to show their philanthropic spirit, and to boost morale, as employees encounter a cute little puppy at work on a daily basis.
All food, supplies, and veterinary expenses are provided by the organization.
When the dog is ready to enter into formal training at the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, you must be prepared to give up the dog, so that it may continue its journey to work as a guide dog.
If you would like to learn more about the puppy raising program at Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, email [email protected] or call (613) 692-7777.
Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind was established as a registered charity in 1984 and has provided more than 830 professionally trained guide dogs to Canadians who are visually impaired from coast to coast.