What Made you become a Puppy Carer for a Working Seeing eye dog?
I have always loved dogs but just having a pet seemed rather selfish so I wanted to have the joy of a dog and at the same time give something back into the community. Since both my parents were declared legally blind in their sixties, Seeing Eye Dogs was a natural choice for me.
What would you say to someone considering being a Puppy Carer??
Go for it. It is a lot of work and plenty of frustration but the rewards are beyond awesome.
when you become a puppy carer for the first time was there any Rules you need to follow?
Of course. The job of being a guide for a vision impaired person is terribly important and the training has to be strict, standardized and absolutely spot on. These dogs also have to pass a very stringent ‘Public Access’ test and there is zero tolerance for bad behaviour.
How often did a trainer come out to assess you to see how the process was going as a puppy carer?
Back when I first joined SEDA in 2001, we didn’t even have an office in Queensland so a trainer flew up from Melbourne every two months and visited all the carers. These days, with the merger with Vision Australia and our headquarters in Coorpooroo, and resident trainers, we are visited once a week when the pup is 8-16 weeks, then fortnightly from 16-26 weeks and thereafter monthly until the pup graduates from Puppy Development and goes into Formal Training.
Was all bedding Foods and vet Bills Payed for as a Puppy Carer?
Yes, all the expenses were paid by Seeing Eye Dogs Australia.
How did you Manage when Giving up the puppy at the end of the period?
Naturally, I cried my eyes out but at the same time I was thrilled and excited that another puppy was well on the way to becoming a working guide.