Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs is set to create history with four new dog guides to undergo the early stages of their training in Australia before heading to Canada to start their working lives with CNIB Guide Dogs.
The four Labrador puppies will spend the next year with Seeing Eye Dogs puppy carers in Melbourne. Under the guidance of their carers and staff from Seeing Eye Dogs and CNIB Guide Dogs the puppies will begin to learn the vital skills needed to be qualified dog guides.
The puppies will remain in the puppy carers' homes until early 2022 or until air travel allows them to be transported to Canada safely and comfortably.
Jane Bradley, Seeing Eye Dogs Manager of Puppy Development, said 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,” Jane said.
“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,” she said.
[PD: Four Labrador pups (one yellow, three black) stand with their puppy carers in the Seeing Eye Dogs training facility]
CNIB Guide Dogs often acquires dogs from an Australian breeder, but this partnership is the first time that a litter of dog guides will be trained with the express purpose of working on another continent.
“Due to current COVID-related transportation complications, CNIB Guide Dogs has not been able to get our puppies to Canada from our breeder in Australia so we had to come up with a solution,” Diane Bergeron, President of CNIB Guide Dogs, said.
“Vision Australia and CNIB have had a longstanding relationship. We contacted them and asked if their puppy carers could raise our future CNIB Guide Dogs until travel restrictions are lifted and they said ‘absolutely’,” Diane said.
Seeing Eye Dogs and CNIB Guide Dogs are internationally respected organisations and will use the initiative to continue to share knowledge about the training and developing of dog guides.