GALLERY: Pups need places to train

More than 40 puppies in Sydney are in need of a puppy raiser to prepare them for their potential career as guide dogs.

Karen Hayter, Guide Dogs NSW puppy raising manager, said the organisation was looking for puppy raisers to be responsible for feeding, grooming and exercising their pups daily along with house-training and visits to the vet when needed.

“Their job is to introduce their pup to the sights, sounds and smells it is likely to encounter as a guide dog as well as teaching social skills and basic obedience,” Ms Hayter said.

‘‘Staff from guide dogs make regular visits to the home to monitor the pup’s development.’’

Sandra Nowland from Toongabbie is raising her first puppy, Reece, a five-month-old yellow male labrador.

‘‘The job has its challenges but it is interesting,’’ she said.

‘‘I’d recommend it to other people because you are doing a good service for someone who really needs it.’’

The puppies are cared for 12 months then returned to the guide dog centre in western Sydney to be assessed for guide dog training.

The journey from puppy to guide dog takes up to two years and costs more than $30,000 which is funded by donations from the public.

Demand for guide dogs is expected to increase as people over the age of 40 experiencing vision loss is going to rise to 100,000 by 2020.

HOW TO BECOME A PUPPY RAISER

■ Candidates need a properly fenced backyard.

■ They need access to a car.

■ A guide dog puppy can’t be left alone for longer than four hours a day.

■ Food and vet care are provided free of charge.

■ Must live in the Sydney metropolitan area so they are close to the Guide Dog Centre in Glossodia.

■ To apply visit http://guidedogs.com.au or phone 4579 7555.

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