Guide Dogs of America is seeking volunteers to raise puppies for the first 16 months of their lives, before being handed back to the organization for training. The pups will grow up to be Seeing Eye dogs for the blind and visually impaired.
The organization provide guide dogs at no cost to people in need, across the United States and in Canada.
GDA currently has two newborn litters of puppies, and three additional litters due in the next month.
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The puppy raisers can be a single person or a family, live in an apartment or a home. The guidelines for lifestyle are as broad as the people who will one day own them. But there is one consistent caveat: unlike owning a pet dog, guide dogs cannot be left at home all day. Meaning that puppy raisers must be allowed to bring them in to work every day, or work from home.
"A family deciding to volunteer as puppy raisers is a great way to teach children important lessons, like discipline, empathy, and about people with disabilities," says Stephanie Colman, who coordinates volunteers for Guide Dogs of America.
GDA says the cost of raising a guide dog from start to finish runs about $48,000 per dog. And since they don't charge clients for the dogs, they depend on volunteers. They organization is hopeful volunteers from around Southern California will come forward over the next few weeks to help train the new batch of furry, four-legged, future heroes.
For more information on raising puppies for Guide Dogs of America, click here.