Volunteers needed to care for Guide Dog puppies

Volunteer Penny Parker

Volunteer Penny Parker - Credit: Archant

THE charity Guide Dogs is appealing for volunteers in East Cambridgeshire to train and socialise guide dog puppies, a volunteering role known as Puppy Walking.

Volunteers provide full-time care and education for a puppy from seven weeks until they are between 12 and 14-months-old when the puppies are then returned to the charity to begin their formal guide dog training.

Puppy Walkers are required to attend a fortnightly class in Brampton, Huntingdonshire, on Mondays.

Daniel Ingram, volunteer development coordinator for Guide Dogs, said: “We’re looking for enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers – our puppy walkers play an essential role - if we don’t have puppy walkers, we don’t have guide dogs.

“The role is challenging and it’s a real commitment to take a puppy in to your home for a year, but with the support of Guide Dogs staff, our volunteers find it extremely rewarding and worthwhile to raise a dog who will one day give a blind or partially-sighted person a new independence by acting as their eyes.”

To become a Puppy Walker, volunteers will need to be home the majority of the day or be able to take the puppy to a suitable work environment. Puppy Walkers take their puppy into many varied environments; need access to a car and a securely fenced yard or garden. Guide Dogs supplies basic equipment and cover all veterinary and feeding expenses.

Penny Parker, who has been a Puppy Walker for seven years, said: “Volunteering for Guide Dogs has been a life changing experience. I’ve gained confidence and made many friends. I feel great that someone’s life has changed by looking after a puppy.”

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If you would like to become a Puppy Walker or request more information please call 0845 371 7771, email volunteer@guidedogs.org.uk or visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/puppywalking