Jack Crowley with puppy in training Reggie. Photo: John Allen

Puppy love!

By Ellen O'Brien

“Puppy raising was part of family life growing up”

Those were the words of Ireland and Munster rugby player Jack Crowley as he, this week, encouraged volunteers to sign up as Puppy Raisers for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Jack Crowley is an ambassador for the charity and his own family has raised many puppies who have gone on to become guide and assistance dogs.

He said: “We all got involved, helping each pup to socialise, learn the basics of obedience, and experience everyday activities such as traveling on buses, trains, and even going to some of my games.”

He also addresses the positive impact that the volunteering can have. “It’s a huge commitment, but we knew that every time a pup left to start formal training, we had given it a significant start in its journey to changing someone’s life. Every time I visit the centre now, I’m tempted to sign up again.”

Puppy Raising Supervisor Shereen Pearson said puppy raising can fit in with most people’s everyday lives. “Anyone can apply. Retired people and families with children generally make good puppy raisers, the important thing is that the person is able to spend time caring for and teaching the puppy.”

The charity provides training and support to each puppy raiser. Veterinary fees and feeding costs will be covered and equipment such as crates and leads will also be available, cover will also be provided if the puppy raiser goes on holiday.

To find out more information about volunteering to be a puppy raiser visit guidedogs.ie or email pups@guidedogs.ie.