Volunteer puppy walkers wanted for Guide Dogs

STAR NEWS''Pix Phil Morley 15/10/10''''Sterling is the new guide dog puppy who has arrived with trainer Penny Parket in Felixstowe.
STAR NEWS''Pix Phil Morley 15/10/10''''Sterling is the new guide dog puppy who has arrived with trainer Penny Parket in Felixstowe.
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Charity Guide Dogs is appealing for volunteers in Cambridgeshire to train and socialise guide dog puppies, a volunteering role known as Puppy Walking.

These crucial volunteers provide the full-time care and education of a puppy from seven weeks of age 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 on a Monday.

Daniel Ingram, Volunteer Development Coordinator for Guide Dogs, explains: “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, says: “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.”

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