Hi, my name is Joy, and I am an eight-week old yellow Labrador retriever. I need a home, but not just any home. I need someone to look after me nearly 24/7. You see, I was born to do a job. My hope is to become a guide dog for a blind or visually impaired person. It will take a long time and before I even think about learning the special skills to become a guide dog I, first, need someone to teach me how to be a good puppy around the house. That is where the challenge begins and why it’s difficult to find me a home. I need someone to volunteer to raise me in their house for twelve to eighteen months, knowing they’ll have to give me back to enter into formal training to become a guide dog. You would be asked to take me nearly everywhere I would later go as a guide dog, so that I can be introduced to all kinds of environments where my blind or visually impaired owner would take me.
You and I can have a lot of fun together, but remember right now I am only eight weeks old. That means a lot of work. I need constant attention, like a baby, until I learn the basics. I have to admit that I’ll likely have you up a few times a night to start out. But, once I learn to be a good pup around the house and establish a toileting routine, and I’m a little older, you can put my guide dog in training jacket on me and take me everywhere you go; to the grocery store, the mall, on buses and trains, and even to the local coffee shop. I will need to be taken for long walks a couple of times a day and in all weather conditions. This includes muddy and rainy spring days, hot summer days and in the winter cold and snow. You’ll have me for at least a year, so we’ll experience it all together.
Don’t worry; you won’t be left on your own. You’ll have lots of help along the way from a Puppy Walking Supervisor from Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, who will provide training and advice.
You don’t have to be retired to take me either. What I really need is someone who can devote a great deal of time to me and has a lot of patience. Some of my litter mates have gone to retirees, while others have been placed with individuals who have permission to take a puppy to work, work from home or own their own business. Other volunteers are stay-at-home parents or post-secondary students. The main thing is that I not be left at home alone for extended periods of time. The program isn’t ideal for someone working full-time outside of the home who cannot take me to work, but anyone else would be considered. I need to be in a loving home and with someone most of the time.
It seems like a very long commitment at the start, but the time does fly by quickly. Sometime after twelve to eighteen months with my volunteer, I will be ready to enter into formal training to become a guide dog, when I will begin work at the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind in Manotick, Ontario. This process lasts about five months. If all goes well, the final stage is for me to be matched with an applicant for a guide dog. Then, the person and I will live and work together for a four week session before I officially graduate as a working guide dog and go home with them.
During the fostering stage, food and veterinary expenses are provided by Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.
To participate, you must reside in certain geographical areas where the Puppy Walking Program operates, which includes Ottawa and Eastern Ontario and along the Hwy 401 corridor to the Greater Toronto Area. To learn more about fostering a puppy like me for Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, phone (613) 692-7777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can get more information and receive an application package, plus sign up to attend a future information session on the program.
Again, my name is Joy. I hope that you will consider bringing some Joy into your home. Perhaps by the time you read this, a volunteer will have taken me home. However, I know there are other litters coming up soon, so there will definitely be a puppy for you if you decide to volunteer.