This winter, Guide Dogs NSW is welcoming a new litter of puppies, marking the beginning of a journey for these young dogs to become essential companions for individuals who are blind or have low vision. However, these adorable pups need dedicated and responsible volunteers to care for them over the next year, helping them develop the foundational skills required before their formal training as Guide Dogs.

The Role of Puppy Raisers (aka the best job in the world!)

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is reaching out to the community, inviting everyday Australians to take on the rewarding role of Puppy Raisers. This volunteer position, often described as one of Australia’s most heartwarming roles, is critical in shaping these puppies into future Guide Dogs.

Transforming Puppies into Guide Dogs

Puppy Raisers are instrumental in the transformation of these puppies, providing basic training and a nurturing environment from around eight weeks of age. During their first year, the puppies need to become well-socialised, confident, and focused, learning good toileting, feeding, sleeping, and walking routines. Volunteers will also attend weekly training sessions to help the puppies acquire essential skills, such as walking nicely on a lead and developing good house manners.

The Importance of Volunteers

“Guide Dogs wouldn’t be sustainable without the assistance of our volunteers,” says My Lindqvist, Puppy Development Advisor at Guide Dogs NSW. “Puppy Raisers are a tremendous support to the community and ultimately play a crucial role in helping Australians living with blindness or low vision lead independent lives.”

Guide Dogs NSW Puppy Raisers

What It Takes to Be a Puppy Raiser

The organisation is looking for volunteers who are home most of the time and are willing to invest in training and socialising the puppies. In return, volunteers gain a life-changing experience and the satisfaction of making a significant contribution to their community. Ideal Puppy Raisers should have a fully fenced yard, be away from home no more than four hours at a time, and have access to a car. They must also attend information sessions, vet checks, and Puppy Pre-School.

Support from Guide Dogs NSW

Guide Dogs provides comprehensive support to Puppy Raisers, including food, veterinary care, flea and tick prevention, and access to a dedicated Puppy Development Advisor. Raising and training a Guide Dog is a significant investment, taking over two years and costing more than $50,000. Yet, all Guide Dog services are provided at no cost to those in need.

Information Session

For those interested in becoming a Puppy Raiser, Guide Dogs NSW is hosting an Information Session at Liverpool Golf Club on Saturday, 22 June, from 10 am to 11:30 am. Spots for these sessions can be booked here. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the responsibilities and rewards of being a Puppy Raiser and to meet others who share a passion for supporting this vital service.