Foster homes for guide dog pups needed in these four Laois towns

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Foster homes for guide dog pups needed in these four Laois towns

Guide dog puppy brothers fostered in Laois, Alfie and Kelvin

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Cute labrador puppy Kelvin who lives near Portarlington is just five months old but he is more than just a pretty face.

Like his seven brothers and sisters, Kelvin is undergoing training by The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind to be a guide dog.

More Laois families are now being asked to take a puppy into their homes for the first year of its life during training.

The Dog Volunteer Coordinator is Eimear Kenneally.

“We are looking for volunteers to support our Puppy Raising programme in Laois. We already have several puppy raisers in the Laois area and would love to expand the community,” she said.

“Puppy Raisers foster a guide dog puppy from age 7-8 weeks until approximately 12-15 months. The puppy will live with their family in their home and receive direction from our Early Training Team learning basic rules and obedience. From 12-15 months they enter training at our headquarters in Cork and they begin their journey to becoming a Guide Dog for a person who is vision impaired, or an Assistance Dog for a family of a child with autism,” Eimear said.

They particularly want foster homes in Durrow, Rathdowney, Portlaoise and Abbeyleix.

The homes must be near towns as this is important for pups’ socialisation.

 The puppy will sleep in the home and all training equipment and food is provided by Irish Guide Dogs. The fosterer also gets regular training classes and support from their puppy raising supervisor.

The houses must have an enclosed garden.

They must not have children under the age of five.

There must be an adult at home all day because the pup cannot be left on its own for more than three hours.

Volunteers must commit to a 14-month period of minding a pup in training and attend Irish Guide Dogs’ monthly training sessions.

“For a prospective Guide Dog or Assistance Dog, puppy raising is very much an important part of the training and you will be supporting the charity’s essential work for people with vision impairments and children with autism,” said Eimear.

To find out more, go to www.guidedogs.ie or contact Eimear Kenneally at 087 9945115 or eimearkenneally@guidedogs.ie.