Puppy Raiser Annie

After seeing an ad for a puppy raising information night in Letterkenny around October 2022, I went to the event with little expectation of how it would change my life plans. I was studying animal care at the time and the thought of having a puppy for a year was very tempting. So, after discussing it with my parents, we agreed to take the leap into the world of puppy raising.  

It was not long until a lovely 9-week-old black labrador puppy called Heather arrived at our door in December. She was a very independent pup with her own mind, and it was a struggle to get her to do anything she did not want to do. Nevertheless, I fell in love with Heather and with puppy raising. The thought of helping a pup for a year in its journey to becoming a Guide, Assistance, or Community Dog is just so rewarding and really brought something to my life I didn’t know I was missing.

Part of puppy raising is that you must ensure the puppy is exposed to all different environments and so you can take the puppy with you nearly everywhere you go. Heather and I went to so many places that I would not have gone to otherwise and we met so many wonderful people such as members of the IGDB Donegal Branch, IGDB clients and interested members of the public.  

I got to see firsthand how the pups develop and what is expected of them at each milestone. At fundraising events, I met Guide Dog owners and heard how lovingly they spoke of their past and current dogs and how the charity has helped them with having an independent life as well as a companion in the form of a furry 4-legged creature. 

I went in to puppy raising not knowing much about Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind as an organisation but through the support of my puppy raising supervisor, among many others, it became clear that it is a charity that truly believes in helping people in any way they can and that the dogs and their success means that the charity can help more people and families to participate safely and confidently in their communities. The positive impact that the dogs have on people’s lives from the very moment they are born is amazing. Heather changed my life as without having puppy raised her, I wouldn’t have a job with Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind now.  

I now work part-time with Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind as a Volunteer Support Officer for the West of Ireland and am thrilled to be a part of an organisation whose goal is to help make people’s lives better with the help of a dog and ongoing support. I applied for the job with little expectations but full of hope and now I have the privilege of being able to help and support the IGDB volunteer branches in Donegal, Mayo, Leitrim, Sligo, and Galway with events and fundraising. I continue to puppy raise and encourage anyone that is on the fence about puppy raising to make the commitment, you never know where it will lead you.  

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