Guide Dog charity hopes for dogged volunteers - The Evesham Observer

Guide Dog charity hopes for dogged volunteers

Evesham Editorial 23rd Mar, 2019   0

GUIDE Dogs is appealing for volunteers in Evesham and Pershore, who could help raise a guide dog puppy for their first year.

Pups from the charity are placed with volunteers at around seven weeks of age, remaining with them until they are around a year old.

They then head off to a training centre to begin their specialised guide dog training.

Alex Willetts from Worcester has just started looking after her first guide dog puppy, Hilly, who is a German Shepherd.

She already looks after Hilly’s mum Yara with the help of her husband and three sons.

“I decided to become a puppy walker because I wanted to get more involved with the charity and give something new a go,” she said.

Over the next year, Alex will be helping Hilly learn basic commands, get used to social environments and travelling on public transport.

“Looking after a guide dog puppy is also really social and great for your mental health because you get out and about walking and meet new people.”

Although Alex has never been a puppy walker before, she has been a temporary boarder for the charity and looked after guide dog pups for a few weeks at a time.

“People often say how can you let them go, but it gets to the point at around 12 months where you can see they’re eager to learn more,” she said.

Volunteers must be aged 18-years-old or over and Guide Dogs cover all feeding and veterinary costs.

Staff at Guide Dogs provide regular support and guidance for volunteers and boarders are available to look after pups when walkers want to go on holiday.

Hilly is named after a Guide Dog mum who passed away unexpectedly. Guide Dogs’ Puppy Training Supervisor Cath Brooks and supporters raised £5,000 to name her via Guide Dogs’ Name a Puppy programme.

Call Heather Gelder on 0118 983 8253 or e-mail [email protected] for more.

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