Guide dog volunteers are needed
8:00am Monday 18th February 2013 in News
Young guide dogs were out on the town at the weekend in a bid to attract volunteers.
The puppies were in the Brunel Shopping Centre on Saturday as part of Swindon Guide Dogs recruitment drive. Shoppers could meet the dogs and also talk to people who rely on them. Volunteers are needed to look after, walk and educate the guide dog puppies from the age of six weeks until they are about 14 months old.
Alan Fletcher, chairman of Swindon Guide Dogs, and himself visually impaired, said: “I have had my guide dog, Joy, since 2006. She has given me my life back. “There are 180,000 visually impaired people in the UK that never leave home because they are afraid to go out on their own. I was one of those until I got Joy,” he said.
After Saturday’s event, Mr Fletcher said: “We are pleased with how it went. We are hoping about 12 more people will become puppy walkers as a result.
“A puppy walker is an essential role,” explained Mr Fletcher.
“It takes hard work and commitment. After 14 months they will give the puppy back to Guide Dogs to start their intensive training.”
Guide Dogs for the Blind supply equipment and cover all veterinary and feeding expenses.
To become a puppy walker, volunteers will have to be home for most of the day and able to take their puppy into different environments, including busy streets and on busses and trains.
“The volunteers will socialise the dogs and train them in basic obedience,” said Mr Fletcher.
“They will also take them to puppy classes once a week.”
Anyone interested in volunteering should phone 0845 371 7771.