Felixstowe/Ipswich: Appeal for volunteers to be puppy walkers

Puppy walker Penny Parker has looked after all the Ipswich Star Guide Dog puppies.

Puppy walker Penny Parker has looked after all the Ipswich Star Guide Dog puppies. - Credit: Archant

CUTE and cuddly when they’re young, but the dogs bred by the Guide Dogs charity have a vital role to play in life – acting as the eyes of a blind or partially-sighted person.

Now the charity is seeking more people to help its puppies on their first steps to becoming a guide dog.

Guide Dogs is appealing for volunteers in Ipswich, Felixstowe and Bury St Edmunds areas to train and socialise guide dog puppies, a volunteering role known as puppy walking.

Puppy walkers provide the full-time care and education of a puppy from seven weeks until between 12 and 14 months old when the puppies return to the charity to begin their formal guide dog training.

It’s a role carried out for the Ipswich Star by Penny Parker, of Felixstowe, who has looked after all five of the appeal pups paid for by readers’ generous donations and fundraising – Star, Faith, Sterling, Robson and Diamond.

She said: “Volunteering for Guide Dogs has been a life changing experience. I’ve gained confidence and made many friends. I feel great that someone’s life has changed by looking after a puppy.”

Daniel Ingram, volunteer development co-ordinator for Guide Dogs, said without puppy walkers the charity would not have guide dogs.

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He said: “The role is challenging and it’s a real commitment to take a puppy in to your home for a year, but with the support of Guide Dogs staff, our volunteers find it extremely rewarding and worthwhile to raise a dog who will one day give a blind or partially-sighted person a new independence by acting as their eyes.”

? For more details about becoming a puppy walker call 0845 371 7771, or email volunteer@guidedogs.org.uk