Puppy walking is a crucial volunteering role which prepares guide dog puppies for their working life by familiarising them with different environments including the home, towns and public transport. Volunteer Puppy Walkers provide the full-time care and education of a puppy from seven weeks of age until they are between 12 and 14 months old.
Jacqui Richomme is a volunteer Puppy Walker, “My love of dogs combined with the opportunity to help someone else could not have made this more perfect. The first week, if I am honest, was exhausting! I’d forgotten things like sleepless nights while they settle in, feeding four times a day and the constant attention required, on my part, for the puppy’s toilet training to be achieved. But I absolutely loved every minute and learnt quickly.”
Puppy Walking volunteers meet regularly with a supervisor where they look at the progress of the puppy. There are also requirements and procedures that need to be followed.
“I regularly take them shopping with me in our local supermarkets. Going out for lunch has become a more regular habit so that the pup learns how to behave in this sort of environment. We give the pup the opportunity to go on a train ride and get familiar with the stations.”
After completing their time with their Puppy Walkers, our puppies move on to a training school where they begin their formal guide dog training.
“I would encourage anyone who has the time and interest to become involved. It is a very rewarding and fulfilling thing to do. I would advise them of the time and dedication that is required. This is no different to caring for a young child, everyday your time is filled with teaching and guiding.”
To apply to be a Puppy Walker, please call 0845 371 7771 or visit http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/volunteering/what-can-i-do/puppy-walkers