Guide Dogs charity launches Christmas appeal for pregnant dogs in Birmingham - how to volunteer

Guide Dogs sight loss charity is appealing for volunteers to help pregnant dogs in Birmingham this Christmas.

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Sight loss charity Guide Dogs has launched an appeal for volunteers to help out pregnant dogs in Birmingham this Christmas. Guide Dogs is in need of helpers to look after the dog mums-to-be by giving regular walks, care and company while Guide Dogs cover any food and veterinary costs.

Kelly Newton, Operations Manager at Guide Dogs, said: “We’ve launched a Christmas appeal, asking the people of Birmingham to provide a loving, permanent home to one of our guide dog mums-to-be. We provide all the training and equipment required so you feel well-prepared to care for our mums, and their puppies, when they arrive.

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“Our guide dog mums can live with other animals and children too, providing it is the right environment for them. If you’re from Birmingham or the surrounding area, please do get in touch. By giving a lifelong home to a guide dog mum, you’ll help us to provide more life-changing guide dogs to people with sight loss in 2023 and beyond.”

Volunteer ‘Breeding Dog Holders’ support the charity by providing homes for their guide dog mums and helping them when they have their litters of life-changing pups. Phillippa and David Dobson, from Solihull, have been volunteer Breeding Dog Holders for Guide Dogs for seven years.

They currently have a guide dog mum Vickie, who’s had four litters for Guide Dogs and is due to retire soon. Phillippa said: “We started off as volunteer Puppy Raisers for Guide Dogs and Vickie was our fifth dog. We were really excited when Vickie passed as a guide dog mum.

Guide Dogs sight loss charity needs volunteers to help pregnant pups this ChristmasGuide Dogs sight loss charity needs volunteers to help pregnant pups this Christmas
Guide Dogs sight loss charity needs volunteers to help pregnant pups this Christmas

“When she had her first litter, it was exciting and exhausting, as well as a steep learning curve for us, but also a very positive and proud time. The best part of being a Breeding Dog Holder is the 24/7 puppy cuddles and watching the pups grow and develop is amazing.

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“To anyone thinking of applying, I’d say go for it. It’s exciting and there’s lots of support from Guide Dogs. There’s always someone on hand 24/7.”

Guide dog litters are born in volunteers’ homes, with 24-hour support from Guide Dogs’ staff. Between six and eight weeks of age, the puppies move to the charity’s state-of-the-art national centre just outside Leamington Spa for health and temperament checks, before starting on their journey to become service dogs.

Breeding Dog Holders look after guide dog mums until they retire, at around six years of age. After this, they are given the option to keep the mum they have cared for as a pet dog.

Volunteers must be aged 18 or over and live within an hour’s drive of the Guide Dogs National Centre, near Leamington Spa (CV33 9QJ). Contact Guide Dogs at [email protected] or call 0800 781 1444 to find out more.

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