Do you ever wonder just how incredible guide dogs and service dogs are? How do they do the work they do to help the people that depend on them most? Here in Ireland, these dogs are picked at a very young age to carry out their life’s purpose by helping others. It is from that young age that they are given immediate training and attention to be able to help individuals in the best way that they can as well as becoming a persons best friend and number one companion.
As part of the work done by Guide Dogs Ireland, they depend on volunteers and individuals to take time out of their day to day lives and help care for these animals and train them to the best of their ability. As a result of this, Guide Dogs Ireland are calling for volunteers in the Leinster region to become puppy-raising volunteers to help these animals to start their training process.
Erin McDonald, who is the puppy raising manager with Guide Dogs Ireland appeared on RTE’s morning Ireland show last week asking for volunteers who may have the space for these dogs to come forward to help with their training.
The volunteer will keep the puppy from the age of 8 weeks up until 13 months, where they will be able to house the animal in a warm homely environment. With the future role of the dog being one of great importance, these puppies need to be treated a little bit differently. They will need to be obedience trained and will not be allowed jump up on any furniture such as couches or beds etc. McDonald did however emphasis that the puppy raisers should enjoy the experience.
The experience is a full time roll in which the volunteer must train the dog to walk on a lead in different environments to allow the puppy to adapt to various distractions as well as allowing the puppy to socialise with other dogs and people. The aim of raising the puppy is to ensure that the dog is well mannered and will become a suitable companion for someone who is visually impaired or to help families who have a child with autism to allow them to live an independent life with their guide dog by their side.
The volunteer will be given a designated supervisor who will provide sufficient training and guidance to help the volunteer to train their puppy. There are also numerous puppy raising volunteers in surrounding areas for those who have little experience in this role to seek help and advice to best train their puppy.
While becoming a puppy raising volunteer, Guide Dogs Ireland will provide you with all the equipment needed to house the puppy as well as money for their food and necessities. All the volunteer will have to do is care for these animals, make sure they are being looked after, allow them to socialise with other dogs and are trained accordingly.
If you are over the age of 18 and this is something you think might be of interest to you, you can find out more on their website Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind to see what you need to do to become a puppy raising volunteer.
Would you like an insight into how cute these animals are and exactly what it’s like to be a puppy raising volunteer? Take a look at the video below to see Laura Murphy’s experience as a puppy raiser.
If you think this is something you or someone you know may be interested in, check out the Irish Guide Dog website and let us know in the comments below.