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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Guiding Eyes Taking Applications for ‘Puppy Raisers’

“Our raisers are responsible for nurturing a puppy to prepare it for guide-dog training,” says Kerry Lemerise, puppy program manager. “The volunteer puppy raisers bring puppies into their homes for approximately 14 months and focus on house manners, socialization and basic obedience, and teach the puppies how to live and work with people.”

All Guiding Eyes’s puppy raisers go through a pre-placement class prior to getting a puppy, she says. Once they have a puppy, they attend regular classes with other raisers in their area.
“While raisers initially sign up to change the life of a person who is blind or visually impaired, they generally find their lives are changed as well,” Lemerise says. “The experience is so positive that more than 65 percent of our current raisers are repeat raisers.”

The first step to being a Guiding Eyes raiser is to fill out a Puppy Raiser Application. Applicants should review the responsibilities to determine whether raising a puppy matches their time, commitment and interests.

Puppy-raising classes are on Wednesday evenings at the Guiding Eyes Canine Development Center in Patterson and on Monday evenings in Westchester, in the Yorktown area. Pre-placement classes, designed to prepare volunteers for raising a puppy to become someone’s Guiding Eyes, are held at the Canine Development Center. 

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