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Lucy Watson Backs Drive to Find Homes for Future Guide Dogs

04 August 2014
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UK - Made in Chelsea star Lucy Watson is supporting Guide Dogs’ appeal for volunteers to look after the next generation of life-changing guide dog puppies.

Guide Dogs’ call comes as the charity has had an unusually high number of young dogs born this spring and summer and needs volunteers to raise them, a role known as puppy walking.

Commenting on her support for Guide Dogs’ recruitment drive, Lucy said: “I love dogs and I think it’s great that you can sign up to be a puppy walker and play a vital role in a guide dog puppy’s training. Not only do you get to shape the first year of a guide dog pup’s life, but you know that you’re helping to change the life of someone with sight loss.”

Puppy walkers look after a guide dog pup in their own home when the young dog is aged six weeks old, until it is 12-14 months of age. The volunteers care for the puppy, teach it basic obedience and take it out into a variety of everyday situations to get the pup used to sights, sounds and smells of the big, wide world.

Guide Dogs meets all the costs of the puppy’s upkeep so to become a puppy walker, all a volunteer needs to give is their time and love. The charity also provides puppy walkers with training and support throughout.

After the puppy walking phase is over, the volunteer hands the pup back to Guide Dogs for the young dog’s guide dog training and matching with someone who has sight loss.

Every second of every day, our amazing guide dog partnerships help people who are vision impaired get where they want to be in life – from starting a dream job, to getting to the shops independently for the first time in years. Guide Dogs enables people to experience truly life-changing moments.

Guide Dogs’ National Lead for Puppy Walking, Sue Richardson, said: “We’ve had an unusually high number of guide dog pups born this spring and summer, so we’d like to hear from anyone interested in becoming a puppy walker as soon as possible.

“Volunteers are an essential part of Guide Dogs and without them, we simply couldn't help the thousands of people who are blind or partially sighted that we do.”

The need for puppy walkers varies across the UK, so to find out if puppy walkers are needed in your area, contact Guide Dogs’ volunteering office on 0845 371 7771, or log on to guidedogs.org.uk/volunteer.

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