Imagine having a puppy in the house almost constantly for nearly two decades. Sound like a dream? Well this is very much a reality for volunteer Puppy Raiser Harriet – who embarked on this journey way back in 2000.
Harriet is currently raising her seventh Guide Dog Puppy, Winston. Four of her past puppies have gone on to graduate as working Guide Dogs, transforming the lives of West Australians with vision impairment. She’s also boarded several Guide Dogs in training on a temporary basis, as a ‘break’ between raising each puppy.
And now, Harriet’s hard work and dedication has been recognised, as she’s taken home the Town of Cambridge Volunteer of the Year Award.
“It was a big lifestyle change at the beginning but it’s just opened up our world. It’s a wonderful feeling, and it’s great that the dogs have been recognised for their work in the community too!” said Harriet.
Sue, Ashleigh and Shea from our Guide Dog Services team submitted Harriet’s nomination – here’s a snippet of what they had to say…
“Harriet is an inspirational volunteer and a valued member of the Guide Dogs WA team.
Being a Puppy Raiser is a unique volunteer position, unlike any other. This vital role is a 24-hour, seven-day commitment providing love, training and care to a puppy.
Puppy Raising a future working Guide Dog requires many hours of exposing the puppy to many experiences, such as shopping centres, public transport, cafes & restaurants and other public areas.
Every new exposure or experience has to be managed to ensure that the experience is a positive one, which in turn prepares a young puppy for future success as a working Guide Dog.
Harriet also works hard to educate the wider community about Guide Dog etiquette, which helps to further improve the lives of those who need these working dogs.”
“Harriet’s exceptional dedication and commitment to her role as a volunteer Puppy Raiser has been instrumental. If it was not for the dedication of volunteers such as Harriet, Guide Dogs WA would not be able to fulfil its commitment to improving the lives of West Australians living with vision impairment and other disabilities.”
Congratulations Harriet – a very well deserved award!