Puppy raisers needed to help train future guide dogs for the blind

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:30

Warwick — The Guiding Eyes for the Blind will hold an open house Thursday, Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. at the Warwick Senior Center to let local residents discover what is involved in becoming a volunteer puppy raiser. Local families have a long history of opening their hearts and homes to puppies that will eventually be trained as seeing eye dogs. Guiding Eyes for the Blind (GEB) volunteer families are asked to socialize the puppies and provide basic hand and voice obedience training. Puppies are placed with the volunteer families at 8 weeks of age. At 18 months, they return to GEB and are tested for suitability as guide dogs. If they pass, they enter professional training for six months. They are then matched with a blind person for training together. The raising families are invited to the graduation to meet the person who has been given the dog. Local puppy raisers say that the thrill of helping another person have a fully independent life is a humbling experience. There is a great need for more volunteer raising families. There is a waiting list of blind clients, who sometimes must wait two to three years for a dog. There are currently six dogs being raised in Orange County, and at least another six local families are needed. For more information, call Cheryl DeVine at 845-986-0522.