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Four future CNIB Guide Dogs being raised in Australia from left to right: Rex, Harley, Bridget and Oscar, sitting next to their volunteer puppy carers.

Pup-dates: Volunteers "down under" raising future CNIB Guide Dogs

By Diane Bergeron, President of CNIB Guide Dogs

When travel restrictions made it impossible to transport puppies from our breeder in Australia, the international community of guide dog organizations stepped up to help – as good friends do in times of need.

Our friends at Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs arranged to have their volunteer puppy carers raise our pups until they can be safely and comfortably transported to Canada.

Puppy carers in Melbourne are currently raising 11 puppies under the guidance of staff from Seeing Eye Dogs and CNIB Guide Dogs. The puppies will remain in the puppy carers' homes until air travel allows them to be transported to Canada.

Jane Bradley, Seeing Eye Dogs' manager of puppy development, says the Seeing Eye Dogs team is excited to support their Canadian counterparts.

“Seeing Eye Dogs is fortunate to have an amazing network of puppy carers and world-class facilities that will allow us to begin developing these puppies alongside our future Seeing Eye Dogs,” says Jane.

“There’s a strong tradition of collaboration in the international dog guide fraternity. We’re excited to work even closer with CNIB Guide Dogs and also create history as these dogs begin their training in Australia before going on to being working dogs in Canada."

Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs and CNIB Guide Dogs will use the initiative to continue to share knowledge about the training and developing of guide dogs.

CNIB Guide Dogs sent a puppy raising supervisor over to Melbourne to work with Vision Australia to assist in ensuring the proper preparedness for our Future Guide Dogs.

It is a fantastic opportunity for CNIB Guide Dogs and Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs to learn from each other.