“I love to learn, but someone has to teach me how to help humans.”
Archie 9 months - Seeing Eye Puppy-in-training
One day, someone who is blind or has low vision will trust their life to a dog like Archie. That’s why it’s so important that these dogs are trained to the highest standard.
If only you could see Archie in action – he is such a cheeky rascal. He is almost nine months old which is a crucial, formative age for any puppy.
You probably know that during the first year of their life, a puppy needs lots of care and attention. This is even more true for our puppies, so that is why they are placed with volunteer families (known as puppy carers) from when they are around 8 weeks old, until around 12 months of age.
It’s volunteer puppy carers like Kate who shape these cuddly pups into the strong, disciplined Seeing Eye Dogs that we know and love.
Your generosity will give these puppies the best chance of succeeding in their early training.
If we can’t get enough caring Australians to help support our newest specially-bred puppies we will struggle to get them fully trained and ready for someone who is blind or has low vision.
During the time they live with their carers, puppies must go through stringent medical check ups to make sure that each one of them is sound and suitable for Seeing Eye Dogs training. This includes all veterinary care such as x-rays of hips and elbows, and specialist eye exams.
The program to care for and train a Seeing Eye Dog is lengthy, intensive and costs up to $50,000 for each puppy. Each dog must be trained to the highest standard because their handler must be able to trust them with their life.
Because of this not every pup that is born will be able to graduate as a Seeing Eye Dog. Just over half of the dogs make it all the way through the specialsed training and go to be matched with someone who is blind or has low vision.
Kate said that Archie is well on track with his development. But there is a long way to go.
“I think Archie is looking very good. He is looking confident, has no problems with noises around him and is fine with trains.”
Once trained, a fully-trained Seeing Eye Dog can do incredible things – like locating a seat on a train, understanding traffic lights or guiding their handler around a low-hanging branch. It takes some serious expertise to harness that potential
Archie still has a bit of time before he turns 12 months old, at which point he will have one more assessment before beginning his formal Seeing Eye Dogs training. Dogs like Archie are almost two years old before they can be matched with a person who is blind or has low vision.
But Archie is only one dog and he can only help one person.
It’s a long wait, but Kate reminds us just how much these dogs change lives:
“Clients really appreciate the freedom they get because their Seeing Eye Dog can take them to wherever they want to go. In the past they may have had to rely on someone else if they wanted to go out. Now their Seeing Eye Dog can take them.”
As you can imagine, it takes a lot of resources to care for a puppy and we have over 58 eager pups who are going through this stage right now.
Donate online today