More volunteers are needed to take the lead in helping young pups become fully trained guide dogs.
Charity Guide Dogs need more ‘puppy walkers’ in the region to look after the young dogs.
However, as Whittlesey volunteer Sue Tubbs (42), points out, the role of puppy walker is more complex than taking cute dogs for exercise.
Sue, who has been a puppy walker for three years, is currently looking after 10 month old Sparky. She said: “Sparky is my third dog I have puppy walked - but it is a lot more than just walking them. We look after them 24/7 for about a year. They come to us at seven weeks old, and we train them so they don’t go to the toilet inside, We teach them to know that when we blow a whistle their food is ready, and so they can go on buses and trains.
“It is very rewarding, but it is hard when they go. One of the two I have walked is now a fully trained guide dog, and the other is a mum for guide dogs - I am hoping when Sparky goes, I will start walking one of her puppies.”
Christian Cornforth, Volunteering Consultant with Guide Dogs said: “Having a puppy live with you for a year is a huge commitment and more than just walking them. Be prepared to attend classes, get out and about in the local community with them, and support their training. With such a high level of commitment it really is suited to someone who doesn’t work full time, can drive and has plenty of spare time to commit to these amazing puppies.”
For more details contact Christian on 0345 143 0223.