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Puppy Raising opportunities are now available in the South West

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  • Puppy Raising opportunities are now available in the South West

Guide Dogs WA is preparing for an influx of puppies, but without more volunteers, they will struggle to meet the increasing demand for Guide and Assistance Dogs in the community. To address this challenge, Guide Dogs WA has decided to expand the catchment area for volunteer Puppy Raisers to include the South West Region. Previously, volunteers were required to live within 45 minutes of the Guide Dogs WA training centre in Victoria Park. However, phase one of this trial sees it being extended to include suburbs between Busselton and Margaret River.

Small black puppy sitting next to a woman.
New South West Puppy Raiser Nicole and Puppy in Training Beryl

This expansion is a crucial step in ensuring that Western Australians with low vision, disability, or illness have access to highly trained Guide and Assistance Dogs. Guide Dogs WA recognises that there are many individuals in the community who have always aspired to become Puppy Raisers. This announcement will be warmly received by such individuals, providing them with the opportunity to contribute to the life-changing work of this beloved Western Australian organisation.

Nicole Millar and Sarah Sparkes are two new Puppy Raisers for Guide Dogs WA and based in the Margaret River region. Nicole says the experience so far has been rewarding and she looks forward to watching the puppy flourish and grow, knowing that in the future it will change someone’s life.

“Beryl is a beautiful girl and it’s been enriching to help her explore and navigate the world. It’s helping me to be patient and observant. And the feeling of being a volunteer and contributing to the bigger picture is rewarding in so many other ways,” Nicole says.

Puppy Raisers are dedicated volunteers who welcome eight-week-old puppies into their homes. With guidance from an experienced and specialised team, they spend a year teaching these young dogs’ basic obedience and socialisation. Additionally, they expose the puppies to various environments and experiences that they are likely to encounter as working Guide or Assistance Dogs. This includes visits to shopping centers, public transport, and restaurants. The puppies in training accompany their raisers to personal appointments, such as dental visits, school pickups, and sporting activities.

Sarah says she enjoys helping to educate the community while out and about with puppy Joe such as how to interact around a puppy in training which includes no pats, food or distractions.

“It provides experience for myself but it also educates the community so much and opens a door for everyone to get involved. It provides the experience of having a puppy and training it but also having the opportunity to help someone else out,” Sarah says.

Small yellow puppy sitting next to a woman
New South West Puppy Raiser Sarah and Puppy in Training Joe.

In addition to their training, Guide Dogs WA organises regular walks and group activities to provide further support to volunteers. 

Guide Dogs WA is entering a significant period of growth with the introduction of new Breeding and Cadet Training programs, resulting in an urgent need for volunteers.

While Puppy Raising involves plenty of cuddles, it requires individuals who can commit to having a puppy in their home for 12 months and dedicate time and energy to their training.

The organisation covers all costs associated with the puppy’s food, equipment, and medical care. Once the puppy completes its training after a year, there is always the opportunity to welcome another one and continue making a difference.

“I think that if you have the opportunity to be a Puppy Raiser then do it! Yes it’ll be so hard giving the puppy away but at least you know all your hard work has paid off and they will go out into the big world to help someone,” Sarah says.

So, if you,

  • Live in the South West region
  • Have no pets or pets who will not mind sharing their home
  • Can have an adorable puppy sleep inside your home
  • Spend most of your time with the puppy
  • And can attend regular group walks and training sessions in your area,

Please visit to submit an application.

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