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Help to educate guide dog pups
A CHARITY is looking for kind people to take on puppies which are set to help the blind.
Swindon Guide Dogs for the Blind is appealing for people across the town to look after, walk and educate guide dog pups from the age of six weeks until they are about 14 months old.
The dogs will then be returned to the charity to start their intensive training.
Alan Fletcher, chairman of Swindon Guide Dogs, said: “The volunteers will socialise the dogs and train them in basic obedience.
“After a period of time they will also take them to puppy classes once a week, and they will take them on buses, in the car and on trains.
“The volunteer will train them to do things the guide dog owner will want them to do.
“It is a very important role because the hard work they put in will benefit people in so many ways.”
Alan has had his guide dog, Joy, since 2006.
“Joy 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 and I was one of those until I got Joy,” he said.
“I found it difficult to go out on my own. I tried and I just couldn’t do it and I found myself walking into the middle of the road.
“Joy has given me my life back and given me the freedom and independence to do the job I do with Swindon Guide Dogs and help other people.”
Guide Dogs for the Blind supplies basic equipment and covers all veterinary and feeding expenses.
“It doesn’t cost anything but what it does cost is time and commitment. Guide Dogs for the Blind pays for food and vets bills,” he said.
“We have had people who have never had dogs before. You just need to have a liking for dogs and there needs to be someone at home for most of the day.
“The charity doesn’t like volunteers to leave the puppies on their own for more than three hours.”
To become a puppy walker, volunteers will need to have access to a car.
They will have to be home for most of the day, and free to take their puppy into many varied environments – sometimes busy and difficult.
Their yard or garden will also need to be securely fenced so the puppy remains safe.
Anyone interested in volunteering can talk to puppy walkers in The Brunel Shopping Centre in the town centre on February 16 from 10am to 4pm or phone 0845 371 7771.