Charity in puppy plea
Guide dogs for the blind
A disability charity is appealing for volunteers to give special puppies a loving home for a year.
Guide Dogs Scotland want people to help in a process that will lead to life-changing mobility aid for adults, children and young people with sight loss throughout Scotland.
They are desperate for people to step forward to care for a puppy while aged from seven weeks up to 15 months old – before they go on for formal training to become a Guide Dog, giving back freedom of movement to blind or partially-sighted people.
Liz and David Gemmell of Lockerbie have already taken up the challenge with their first Guide Dogs puppy, Jack, giving them plenty of enjoyment while helping out an amazing cause.
They said: “Jack is our first guide dog puppy and we love having him. We enjoy being part of the Guide Dogs family, meeting new people and contributing to a lovely puppy’s life. We’d definitely encourage others to get involved.”
A guide dog puppy training class was held in Dumfries on Wednesday morning at Park Farm, to give potential new helpers an idea of what’s in store and what they can do to help. It was the chance to meet existing volunteers and their puppies, as well as Guide Dogs staff.
Volunteer co-ordinator Maureen Turner says anyone interested can still get involved and make a difference. Currently there are around 530 guide dog owners in Scotland, initially supported by the puppy walkers.
She said: “Puppy walkers are amazing volunteers who start our puppies on their journey to becoming fullyfledged guide dogs.
David Gemmell of Lockerbie is currently caring for puppy Jack who will become a Guide Dog
“They provide the fulltime them used to different care and education environments. of our puppies until they Guide Dogs covers all are ready to go to formal feeding and veterinary training school. It’s an costs while the puppy is in extremely rewarding role the volunteer’s care and and volunteers receive full Maureen says it is possible training and lots of support.” to become a puppy walker
“To be eligible for the role, even if you have a pet dog, volunteers need to be able as long as it is of suitable to spend the majority of the temperament. day with the puppy and have The charity relies on a securely fenced garden. donations from the public
“They’ll also need to be to keep the guide dog able to take their pup into service running and says many varied environments, it costs over £55,000 to train such as shops, cafes and on and support a guide dog to public transport to get from birth to retirement.