Vision Australia’s Seeing Eye Dogs is experiencing another puppy boom and is urgently seeking puppy carers across the Sunshine Coast.
“Through Seeing Eye Dogs’ puppy caring program, you can give the gift of confidence and independence to someone who is blind or has low vision by contributing to the development of a Seeing Eye Dog,” says Tracey Bashford, Seeing Eye Dogs Puppy Development Trainer for the Sunshine Coast.
The journey from playful puppy to working Seeing Eye Dog takes about two years, and the first step in this journey is being placed with a volunteer puppy carer.
“Puppies need carers from eight weeks of age until they are about 12 to 15 months of age, and we currently have pups that are ready to go to homes straight away, with other litters ready to go to homes throughout the year,” Miss Bashford says.
We have a variety of different caring options available. Full time carers to have the pup from eight weeks to 12-15 months until they enter their formal training. A six month caring option and we are always on the look out for temporary foster homes for when the regular carers may go away for a short period.
Though Vision Australia is the only national provider of Seeing Eye Dogs in Australia, the puppy caring program has previously been focused in Victoria. Now, the puppy caring program is being offered across the Sunshine Coast.
“Being a puppy carer is a wonderfully rewarding experience and an invaluable way to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of someone in need of a Seeing Eye Dog,” Miss Bashford says.
Miss Bashford says there are number of things to consider about becoming a puppy carer, with the most important attribute being an understanding that the program is about the greater good – and of course having a love for dogs.
Other factors to consider include:
- Puppies can't be left alone for more than three hours at a time. Talk to your employer about the puppy coming to work with you.
- If you've got kids and you walk them to school, take the pup with you. If you're going out for coffee, take the pup with you. It's about socialising the puppy so they get used to family life and being in a home.
- All costs incurred throughout the puppy caring program are covered by Vision Australia, including food and vet bills.
- Must have a fully fenced, secure yard and be happy for the dog to live and sleep inside.
- Have transport to get the pup socialised out and about and meet the Puppy Development Trainer regularly in various locations.
Seeing Eye Dogs is one of the many services provided by Vision Australia. If you are interested in becoming a puppy carer, visit sed.visionaustralia. org or call 1800 03 77 73.