Puppy Raiser, Bill Murphy

Puppy raising is very rewarding but is very hard work if you are going to do it properly. If people are not 100% committed to this, then they should not even consider doing it.

It was a year after my wife passed away that I decided I needed some purpose in my life so as a dog lover all my life and a sponsor of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind for many years it seemed a like a natural thing for me to do. I was so pleased with the vetting process because it ensured that the pups would be going to good responsible people who would look after them and only have their welfare at heart.

You can do this if you live alone but you need to give it a lot of thought because your lifestyle is about to change completely for the next 12 months.

You will need the help of family and friends to give you respite, but as the weeks go by it does get easier as you come to terms with what you’ve taken on.

When I first started walking the pup everyone I met wanted to stop and talk but you have to stop doing that and kindly ask them not to touch or make eye contact with the pup. You do not have to be rude and of course use common sense where children are concerned, it’s only natural that they want to touch and play with the pup, but you will learn how to deal with this.

I was asked if I wanted to meet up with other Puppy Raisers for walks which I agreed to. Little did I know that I was about to meet some of the most incredible people I have even met in my life. They were so welcoming, so friendly. All from different backgrounds but with one common purpose – they love puppy raising and some had done it many times. After our walks we would go for coffee together and I would listen as they talked about some of the pups they raised. I could feel the emotion in their voices as they spoke.

Emotion is something the team in Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind prepared me for when the time came for Stanley to go to Cork. But when your friendship turns to love nothing quite prepares you for the massive tsunami of emotion that is about to hit you.

I loved bringing Stanley to shopping centres, on different kinds of transport as well as shops and cafes because nothing bothered him at all but not all pups are like this. They all have their own personalities, and you may have to be patient with them as they come to terms with this new world that they have been introduced to.

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