Volunteering Sunshine Coast

Carer Kerry and Seeing Eye Dog in training Jude

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How did you find out about becoming a puppy carer? 

I found out about puppy caring for Vision Australia when
I saw it advertised in the local magazine, ‘My Weekly Preview’. The article
jumped out at me.  

 

It was the perfect timing. I’d just finished my career
and I was really ready. I love animals, we’ve always had animals and this felt
like the right program for me.  

 

How long have you been a puppy carer? 

I applied in August 2020 and Jude came to us the next
month. 

 

Can you tell me a bit about the puppy you have at the
moment? 
 

Jude is a black Labrador and she’s amazing! She’s
gorgeous, so delightful, such a pleasure.  

 

She came to us when she was 8 weeks old, when she didn’t
know her name or how to sit or anything.  

 

Straight away, she just fitted into our family.  

 

She gets on really well with our other pets. We have a
King Charles Cavalier x Shih Tzu and a cat, and we’ve got 14 year old twin
girls. They all love each other!  

 

What do you have to do as a puppy carer? 

As a puppy carer, I’m like a guide for Jude.  

 

Every day you are doing training. In the beginning
training is focused on teaching your puppy their name, as well as the
fundamentals such as sitting and toileting.  

 

How does Vision Australia support you?  

When we applied we were taken through a series of online
meetings that taught us about what to expect; we found these really
helpful.  

 

When we started as puppy carers, we were provided
with a really comprehensive puppy caring guide.  

 

Tracey, our Puppy Development Trainer, guides us every
step of the way. She visited a few times before Jude came to live with us – to
check we had the house set up properly and so on.  

Tracey visited us the day after Jude was dropped off. We
started with weekly catch ups, which have now become fortnightly.   

 

Tracey changes up our training all the time depending on
Jude’s age and needs. We do training walks and little trips out. Each fortnight
the training steps up a little bit. To start with, we would go somewhere quiet
and just sit for a while. Now, we might walk around a shopping centre, go
on trains or walk in busy streets.  

 

Jude has been fine with everything – she’s great in
supermarkets and everywhere we have been.  

 

Vision Australia supplies everything you need for your
puppy.   

 

Do people often ask you if it’s hard when the puppy
leaves for training? 
 

I get asked a lot about how I feel about Jude leaving us.
I keep it positive – I just say ‘She’s in training to help someone with low
vision, to give them confidence and freedom’.  

 

What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming a
puppy carer? 
 

I would tell anyone thinking about being a
puppy carer to absolutely do it! There’s more positives than
negatives. Having a puppy is like having a baby in terms of work, but they’re
so adorable.  

They really become part of your life. I would absolutely
do it again.