Ever wanted a pet but not sure you can commit to a full fourteen years? Puppy raising is a great way to enjoy the companionship of a dog while also helping someone with a disability lead a more independent life.
“Raising a puppy lets you give back to the community with the added bonus of the pitter pattering of puppy paws,” says Cherie Bekker, K9 Manager at Assistance Dogs Australia.
Puppy raising involves having a puppy in your home for around sixteen months to help condition and socialise them before they undergo intensive training. Once placed, these dogs will help their owners with everyday tasks such as opening doors, pressing the button to cross the road and picking up dropped items. But most of all they will offer them a form of confidence and independence.
Click here for a video of the Assistant Dogs Australia’s pups in action.
“Puppy raisers and sitters will teach these pups to undertake tasks that are difficult or even impossible for people with physical disabilities to achieve. They’ll teach them to pick up all sorts of objects such as mobile phones and keys and make sure they are able to alert bark when required,” says Cherie.
“You can also take the pups to the shops, cafes, on public transport and even to the cinema as it is all these experiences that will help them become an Assistance Dog,” she adds.
“But the best part of being a puppy raiser or sitter is helping to change someone’s life by training a fantastic Assistance Dog,” says Cherie. “To see the impact these dogs make on their recipients is priceless.”
To be a puppy raiser with Assistant Dogs Australia, you need to be not working fulltime, have no children under school age, have a suitable secure yard, and be willing to have an inside dog. In return, they will pay for all major expenses like food, vet bills, heartworm, and flea control. And if go on holidays, another committed volunteer will look after your pup.
If you don’t want to commit to sixteen months but would still like to help out, you could become a puppy sitter (looking after someone’s pup while they are on holidays), a puppy socialiser (having puppies for the first 4-8 weeks), or a puppy bed and breakfast (taking care of adult dogs in need of downtime).
Assistant Dogs Australia is currently looking for raisers and sitters in:
- Wagga Wagga
- Port Maquarie and Huntington areas NSW
- Mornington Peninsular, Victoria
Visit their website here or call 1800 688 364.
Alternatively if you’re interested in raising dogs for blind or visually impaired people, you could contact Guide Dogs Australia in your state:
- Guide Dogs Victoria
- Guide Dogs NSW/ACT
- Guide Dogs Tasmania
- Guide Dogs Queensland
- Guide Dogs Australia SA/NT
- Association for the Blind of WA