Puppy carer program comes to the coast

A Seeing Eye Dogs volunteer dog carer with 4 dogs currently in training.

Seeing Eye Dogs is calling on all Central Coast dog lovers to attend its information session on July 22, as it seeks to find local volunteers who want to become carers for dogs in training.

Seeing Eye Dogs are the only national breeder, trainer and provider of dog guides, developing and maintaining dog guide services for people who are blind or have low vision.

The Puppy Carer Information Session will be hosted on Friday, July 22, in Gosford to help garner some interest and answer any questions locals may have about the dog carer program, which is set to commence in January 2023.

Trainee Mobility Instructor, Mikaela Smith, said the session would allow the public to learn more about the program and how to become a Seeing Eye Dog carer.

“We are so excited to be able to get the local community involved in the raising and training of these special dogs,” Smith said.

“The program is about a five to six-month training period, where we will have dogs based in the Central Coast training to become fully qualified Seeing Eye Dogs.

“This training period is after the dogs have completed their 12 weeks puppy raising program and have been assessed for suitability.

“The program gets the dogs ready for graduation so they can be placed with a client when they are 18 months of age.”

Smith said that no prior experience was necessary, and the volunteer program was open to anyone.

Graduated Seeing Eye Dog, Viola, who is an 18-month-old Labrador x Golden Retriever.

“Our client base has a whole range of different lifestyles where people are living on farms, in apartments, have dogs and kids, or live by themselves…so we are looking for a volunteer base that reflects that same environment,” Smith said.

“Volunteers will need to have some availability throughout the week so that we can pick up and drop off the dogs, which will be between two and five days every week, but it’s pretty flexible.”

Smith said the information session was at 3 pm on Friday, July 22, at 6 Baker Street, Gosford.

If interested community members are unable to attend the information session, questions can be emailed to sedvolunteer@visionaustralia.org

The Puppy Carer program is open to areas of the Central Coast, including Woy Woy, Umina Beach, Ettalong Beach, Booker Bay, Blackwall, Horsfield Bay, Woy Woy Bay, Kariong, Koolewong, Tascott, Point Clare, West Gosford, Gosford, North Gosford, East Gosford and Point Frederick.

Hayley McMahon

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