Could you give a guide dog puppy a home? Charity on the hunt for new volunteers

  • Report by ITV Wales reporter Kate Lewis


Guide Dogs Cymru are on the lookout for people to take care of puppies and help get them accustomed to a home environment.

Volunteer puppy raisers take a puppy into their home when it is around seven weeks old and teach the dog basic good behaviour during the first year of its life.

They help get the puppy accustomed to a home environment, noise and the bustle of towns, and prepare them for their working life ahead by going on public transport and into shops.

Guide Dogs Cymru are on the lookout for people to take care of the puppies and help get them accustomed to a home environment

Sandra Corben has been volunteering with the charity for over eight years and is currently looking after guide dog puppy Souly, a 2-month-old labradoodle.

She says the experience has been very "rewarding" and has changed her life."When the puppy first arrives, it's just a bundle of fluff", she said.

"You need plenty of time and patience, but the role is incredibly rewarding.

"It's something my late husband and I were always going to do when we retired. Sadly, he passed away eight years ago, but I decided to go ahead anyway, and it's the best thing I've ever done. It's changed my life and I really enjoy what I do.

Sandra Corben says raising a guide dog puppy has been a rewarding experience

"It's given me something to get up for every day and given me a purpose in life.

"It's a great responsibility and you're very aware that they're not a pet and that they are going on to change someone's life.

"For me, I really do feel I get more out of it than I put in. It's just so rewarding and when you see them actually trained as guide dogs and doing their job, it's amazing and it's such a pleasure to be a part of that."

Kerry Bevan, head of services for Guide Dogs Cymru said: "Puppy raisers play a vital role in the development of our puppies going through a journey to becoming a guide dog.

"They provide that vital foundation for their on-going training and ultimately we couldn't be doing what we're doing without volunteer puppy raisers.

Kerry Bevan, Head of Services for Guide Dogs Cymru

"This is about getting the pup used to everyday life - exposing it to different environments. Obviously a guide dog needs to be able to work in public areas, public transport which can be quite a tense environment for a dog.

"It's about making sure that puppy has got a really good view of the world and ready to go out and work in the public life.

Sandra Corben with guide dog puppy Souly, a 2-month-old labradoodle

"If anybody's able to offer a home to one of our pups, for the first year or so of its life, we'd encourage them to get in touch with us through our website.

"They will have to go through our recruitment process and they'll be assessed, and their home will be assessed appropriately.

"Our volunteers say they gain a lot of satisfaction knowing that they are contributing to people with sight loss living actively and independently."