Did you know that 15thJune is International Working Animal Day? We have lots of working pets that come to 387 Vets. So for today’s post we thought it would be fascinating (and heart-warming!) to find out more about the journey of a puppy from a recruit to fully fledged guide dog with The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (who use Guide Dogs as their working name). Huge thanks to Jo, a Guide Dogs puppy raiser (and one our clients), for filling us in!
Jo, has been an Guide Dogs puppy raiser for 5 years now, and signed up for the scheme after hearing about it from a friend. Just two months after submitting paperwork online, a home visit and some training, she was ready to take on her first pup! Puppies need to have the correct temperament, so Guide Dogs have their own stud dogs and breeding bitches to help ensure puppy cadets are suitable for the job!
The role of puppy raiser is to socialise new puppy, teach puppy to toilet on command, feed by a whistle and give puppy an awareness of various noises and distractions and elicit an appropriate response. Puppies normally stay with their puppy raiser for 12-14 months, but Jo’s most recent puppy was with her for just shy of 2 years given the recent climate.
When deemed ready, puppies go on to the Guide Dogs training centre. Jo’s handsome puppy Shai, who is the star in the photo, went to the Shrewsbury centre earlier this month. Here, they go to ‘work’ during the day for more specific training, and to a foster home overnight and at weekends.
And when they ultimately graduate, they become an invaluable support and amazing companion to their new blind or partially sighted owner.
Jo has been puppy raiser to 5 puppies since she started with Guide Dogs, and still gets updates on how they are getting on. And the most rewarding part of her role? Knowing that she is helping to give someone a new lease of life. And she totally adores labradors!
Click here to find out more about the charity, the work they do and how you can get involved.