CHARITY: Join puppy walkers

NADV 1606231AM2 Rachel Lobby with her guide dog Joy.(1606231AM2)
NADV 1606231AM2 Rachel Lobby with her guide dog Joy.(1606231AM2)

Guide Dogs bring freedom and independence to many people with sight loss throughout Northumberland.

I am a puppy training supervisor and my job is to help our guide dog puppies to develop into these life-changing dogs.

I couldn’t do this without the dedicated volunteer puppy walkers, who take dogs from the age of seven weeks to live in their homes until they are about 14 months old.

In this time, the volunteers, with my support and advice, will socialise the dogs in many different situations and teach them some essential commands, as well as provide a loving and secure home.

Being a puppy walker is a demanding role as the dog is with you 24/7, and even guide dog puppies will chew things or have ‘an accident’ when they are very young.

However, it is hugely rewarding to see a little pup grow and develop into a potential life-changer.

You may have seen our existing puppy walkers and their dogs in Morpeth. The role certainly gets our volunteers out and about, meeting new people and getting fresh air and exercise.

Guide Dogs wants to enable more people with sight loss to get out and about on their own terms, so we have more puppies to train, and as a result of this, I need more volunteer puppy walkers to help me in Morpeth.

You will need a secure private garden, time, patience and be in a position where you will not leave the dog for more three hours a day.

In return we provide all injections, food and cover any vets’ bills.

I will also support you through regular one-to-one meetings and monthly puppy training classes at Kingston Park, Newcastle.

Puppy walking would suit someone who loves dogs, but possibly can’t commit to long-term dog ownership.

It is sometimes challenging, but our volunteers also find it hugely rewarding and lots of fun.

Most of all, they have the satisfaction of knowing that their volunteering will help a person with sight loss to live the life they want to and deserve to.

So why not join our friendly and welcoming team? To find out more contact Claire Devine on 0118 983 8732 or at newcastle@guidedogs.org.uk

Graham McKinney

Puppy Training Supervisor

Northumberland