January 13, 2019 7:29 pm
Updated: January 14, 2019 11:51 am

Winnipeg volunteers needed to help puppies become CNIB guide dogs

WATCH: Raising a puppy to become a guide dog isn't all fun and games. Global's Alison MacKinnon found out exactly what you need to know.

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The Canadian National Institute for the Blind is giving Winnipeggers the opportunity to help raise seeing eye dogs.

“Our puppy raising program is actually a really big part of CNIB guide dogs. It’s where we have all the volunteers that will accept one of our future guide dogs into their home for roughly a year,” said CNIB’s puppy raising supervisor, Andrea Critch.

The puppies arrive at around eight weeks old and stay at a home until they’re about 12 to 15 months, and with each new litter, CNIB needs more volunteers to join its programs.

READ MORE: CNIB’s 100th anniversary: Guide dog program

“We are always looking for volunteers. We don’t just need puppy raisers, we also need boarders, and what boarders do is they give a relief to any of our puppy raisers so it’s more short term,” Critch said.

Lorraine Rempel is a puppy raiser in Winnipeg and has been raising Joycie for the past 12 months. She has been working to get the dog used to being in busy areas.

Lorraine Rempel and Joycie

Alison MacKinnon/ Global News

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“I take her grocery shopping. She’s been to the Y with me, to the gym to sit by the treadmill to just experience all the noises and different floor textures, just to become a very adaptable dog in all environments and situations,” Rempel said

This is Joycie’s last month with her puppy raiser, and Rempel says it’s bittersweet.

“I’m excited for her, and from how she’s been with us, I know she’s going to be a wonderful companion and a hard-working dog and that’s what we were gearing for so it’s wonderful to know that she’s been successful,” Rempel said.

READ MORE: CNIB celebrates 100 years of service, helps 7,000 Manitobans

While saying goodbye will be hard, the Rempel family is getting ready to say hello to another puppy in the spring.

Anyone interested in volunteering with CNIB can fill out an application to get the process started.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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