Young pups need homes until they are 12 months old, at which time they enter formal Seeing Eye Dogs training. Seeing Eye Dogs carefully plans its litters of puppies each year, but 2022 has been a record breeding year.
"On average, each litter can have up to seven pups. This year, Mother Nature has gifted us with several larger than average litters in quick succession some totalling up to 10 puppies,” Jane Bradley, Seeing Eye Dogs manager of puppy development, said.
“We’ve also noticed that as COVID restrictions have eased, many of our existing volunteer carers are taking the opportunity to travel and visit family they haven’t seen for a few years and, as much as they would love to, aren’t in a position to take on a puppy right now,” Jane said.
“Having more puppies means we could have more Seeing Eye Dogs in the future. We need more volunteer puppy carers before Christmas so pups can start their journey. The longer it takes us to find homes for these puppies, the longer it means someone who is blind or has low vision has to wait for a life-changing Seeing Eye Dog.”
Puppy carers are supported throughout the journey by the Seeing Eye Dogs puppy development team and food, equipment and veterinary costs are also covered by Seeing Eye Dogs.
“Our volunteers play a huge role in supporting us to develop and train Seeing Eye Dogs. They not only provide a loving home, but play an integral role in the puppy's development ahead of joining the formal training program with an instructor.” Jane said.
“Puppy carers help socialise a pup in everyday situations. Things like going for a coffee or walking to the shops all prepare the pup for its future role including basic skills and cues like sitting, toileting and how to walk nicely while on a lead.”
“Every day our Seeing Eye Dogs support hundreds of people who are blind or have low vision across Australia to live safe, active and independent lives. That wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of puppy carers.”
Seeing Eye Dogs offers a number of flexible puppy caring options, including 6 and 12 month caring programs. Seeing Eye Dogs are currently looking for volunteers across Melbourne, and a number of areas of regional Victoria, including Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat.
For more information and to apply now visit: https://sed.visionaustralia.org/puppy-caring/apply-now .