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Canadian Institute for the Blind seeks puppy lovers to help raise guide dogs

CNIB is looking for volunteers to help raise their puppies into guide dogs for the visually impaired.
CNIB is looking for volunteers to help raise their puppies into guide dogs for the visually impaired. Douglas Barnes / The Canadian Press

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is turning to animal lovers to help raise their puppies into formal guide dogs.

Puppy raisers would be responsible for providing a home for dogs as early as eight weeks young until they reach between 12- to 15-months old.

“When you’re a puppy raiser, you’re really giving a gift you’ll never really have the opportunity to give again,” said Christall Beaudry, CNIB Saskatchewan division executive director.

The puppy raiser would be responsible to train dogs obedience and socialization skills overseen by CNIB.

READ MORE: Winnipeg volunteers needed to help puppies become CNIB guide dogs

“Socializing them in different environments is really important whether it’s at the hockey rink, a Riders football game or in a restaurant,” Beaudry said.

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“Those are really the opportunities guide dogs have to be out in the public with their handler.”

Currently in Saskatchewan, there are more than 14,000 blind and partially sighted people and Beaudry said a guide dog can provide them with mobility, freedom and confidence.

Ashley Nemeth is someone benefiting from the program.

READ MORE: Regina woman loses guide dog due to collision with cyclist

“I was lucky enough to receive one of the first graduate guide dogs from this program and my experience has been amazing. I am happy this program is expanding so other people with vision loss can experience this life-changing gift of freedom and independence,” Nemeth said.

“I am also excited that raising awareness about the rights of guide dogs and their handlers is a central focus of this program.”

All costs associated with the program will be covered by CNIB.

For more information or to sign up, visit the CNIB website.