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Urgent appeal for 'Guide Dogs’ puppy walkers


A young cadet reporting for duty!

In an exclusive national appeal through ‘Our Dogs’, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is appealing for puppy walking volunteers across the UK, who care for and educate guide dog pups from six weeks of age for a period of 12 months, when they begin their specialised guide dog training around the country.

Nikki Holland from Guide Dogs’ volunteering department explains:

"We’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers to become puppy walkers because, at the end of the day, if we don’t have puppy walkers, we don’t have guide dogs.

"Puppy walking is challenging and it is a commitment but our volunteers find it extremely rewarding and worthwhile."

Although the appeal is nationwide, the locations where the need for volunteers is most urgent are:

Nottingham;Derby; Gloucester; Cheltenham; Evesham; Alton (Hampshire); High Wycombe; Maidenhead; Reading; Portsmouth; Redbridge (north London area); Southampton; Winchester; Windsor; Stockton on Tees; Newcastle and throughout the North East; West & South Yorkshire; Central belt Scotland; Edinburgh & Lothian; Angus; Perth; Aberdeen

For more information on becoming a puppy walker or for information on other volunteering opportunities, please contact Tel: 0118 983 8290 Email: volunteer@guidedogs.org.uk

The young dogs will spend much of their first year with the puppy walker volunteers who teach basic obedience and get them used to a home environment, noise and the bustle of towns. They will prepare the animals for their working life ahead which includes taking them on public transport including, trains, buses and taxis. A young guide dog puppy is a companion for its temporary owners, who find it so rewarding to raise a dog who will one day give a blind person a new independence by acting as their eyes.

Guide Dogs supplies basic equipment and covers all veterinary and feeding expenses. To become a puppy walker, volunteers must live in ground floor accommodation, with direct access to a car.

They will have to be home for most of the day, and free to take their puppy into many varied environments – sometimes busy and difficult. Their yard or garden will also need to be securely fenced so that the puppy remains safely within its confines.