Guide Dogs UK is looking for volunteers in Leeds to foster and raise a puppy in 2022

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Guide Dogs is urgently appealing for Leeds dog-lovers to sign up as Puppy Raisers and Fosterers and join its team of volunteers in 2022.

Puppy Raisers are responsible for caring for a Guide Dogs puppy for the first 12 to 16 months, teaching them basic commands, familiarising them with many different environments, and attending monthly puppy classes.

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It’s a hugely important role – a vital link in the chain of dog socialisation and training, providing the puppy with a vital foundation for its future as a life-changing guide dog.

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A golden retriever-German Shepherd mix puppy at a health check-up at the Guide Dogs National Centre. Picture: PA Wire.A golden retriever-German Shepherd mix puppy at a health check-up at the Guide Dogs National Centre. Picture: PA Wire.
A golden retriever-German Shepherd mix puppy at a health check-up at the Guide Dogs National Centre. Picture: PA Wire.

Guide Dogs is also looking for fosterer volunteers – rather than looking after a puppy full time, volunteers are asked to take an older training dog to and from a training centre and look after them on evenings and weekends.

As they are usually tired out from the training, they simply need a comfortable place to rest and recuperate, with a bit of exercise at the weekend.

Fosterers can be based across Leeds but would need to be in a reasonable distance from the Guide Dogs community team in Headingley.

There are also Fosterers needed in East Leeds, which also might suit someone on a Leeds to York commute.

Anne Proctor became a Guide Dogs Puppy Raiser in 2020.

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Puch was her first puppy and came to her just before the first lockdown, she said:

“It’s been a real eye opener being a Puppy Raiser. We really enjoy it as we’ve always had our own dogs and have previously been boarders. While it was initially quite hard work due to lockdown and not being able to take him out as much as he was only 16 weeks, we eventually got into the swing of things with training thanks to our Guide Dogs supervisor.

“We trained Puch to go into supermarkets and not be distracted, took him on buses and trains so he got used to public transport and other people around him, and also taught him how to go up and down stairs in shopping centres.

“Puch is a beautiful dog with a lovely temperament. He knows he is handsome too! We will miss him but we know that we are helping Guide Dogs.”

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A UK-wide charity with a community team based in Leeds, Guide Dogs helps people with sight loss to live the life they choose and to step out into the world with confidence.

There are approximately 68,800 people living with sight loss in West Yorkshire with that number expected to increase by 19% by 2030.

For more information and to apply, please head to the Guide Dogs website and type in your postcode.

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