Charity issues appeal for volunteers to raise guide dog puppies in north Northumberland

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Sight loss charity Guide Dogs is urgently searching for volunteers in north Northumberland who could provide a loving home to a guide dog puppy for the first year of their life. 

Puppy Raiser volunteers are vital to the early development of guide dogs, teaching basic commands and helping them get used to different environments.

The role involves supporting puppies for the first 12-16 months of their lives before they begin their specialised guide dog training.

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The cost of all the food, veterinary care and equipment required is covered by the charity.


Guide Dogs are particularly interested in hearing from people in the Berwick, Wooler, Seahouses, Belford and surrounding areas.

Brenda is currently looking after her first guide dog puppy, four-month-old Dani.

She said: “After raising dogs for many years, my last pet died a couple of years ago and at the age of 70, I wasn’t prepared to commit to 15 years of raising another dog.

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“I have always admired the work of Guide Dogs and wanted to volunteer with a purpose that would play to my strengths, give me a challenge and, since I have no other commitments, I felt I could dedicate my time to making a success of puppy raising.

Brenda and Dani in Norham.Brenda and Dani in Norham.
Brenda and Dani in Norham.

“I applied after chatting to another Guide Dogs Puppy Raiser at an event in the summer and following the application process and a home visit, little Dani arrived in September.

“Every day is different - sometimes with challenging moments, but it is always rewarding knowing I am part of a wonderful team working towards raising a future guide dog.

“Dani is a confident, intelligent, energetic puppy who loves to learn and to explore the world around her, whether it be the house, garden or further afield!

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“We are adapting to each other and I am learning a great deal about her energy bursts, teething, the importance of regular sleep for both our sakes, and to communicate so that she understands and is motivated to do what I am asking of her.

“I have installed baby gates, a pen, fireguards and adapted an area for Dani’s sleeping quarters. We are both learning to adjust our ways!”

She continued: “Perhaps the most common question I get is ‘How will you be able to give Dani up when the time comes for her to move on to training?’

“I always say that I am part of an amazing team helping to raise a dog who will make a huge difference to someone’s life one day, this is how I can give her up when the time comes. Then I’ll have another puppy and start again!"

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Gillian Salmon, Puppy Development Advisor for Northumberland, said: “Being a Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs is an exciting and rewarding opportunity to raise a guide dog puppy and prepare them for their future role supporting someone with sight loss.  It is a long-term volunteering role, as each puppy will live with you for at least a year.  

“We’ll provide all the support and training you need, so you feel well equipped to care for your puppy when they arrive with you. 

Volunteers must be aged over 18 and have suitable housing, and the ability to access online content and materials.

To find out more, or to apply, visit