GUIDE Dogs in Leamington is appealing for homes for its four-legged mums this Mother’s Day.
The charity has 240 guide dog mums supporting its breeding programme, which is the largest of its kind for working dogs in the world.
The Guide dog mums live within an hour’s drive of the charity’s National Centre just outside Leamington and have helped create the 3,675 guide dog partnerships currently working together in the UK.
The charity’s volunteer ‘Breeding Dog Holders’ provide homes for guide dog mums and help them when they have their litters of guide dog pups.
Although the charity covers all the costs involved and provides all the training needed for this volunteering role, there is a shortage of volunteers to look after guide dog mums, with 100 new homes needed this year.
Kelly Newton, Operations Manager at Guide Dogs, said: “Our guide dog mums deserve to be praised this Mother’s Day as they do such a fantastic job for us bringing future guide dogs into the world.
“But to ensure we can keep our breeding programme running, we urgently need more homes for our special mums.
“They need regular walks, care and company, like any other pet dog, and we cover all costs involved.
“They also need support when they have their litters of life-changing pups, usually once a year, which we train our volunteers for.
“Giving a home to a guide dog mum is incredibly rewarding – if you think you could help, please do get in touch.”
Guide dog litters are born in volunteers’ homes, with 24-hour support from Guide Dogs’ staff.
Between six and eight weeks of age, puppies move to the charity’s National Centre just outside Leamington for health and temperament checks, before starting on their journey to become service dogs.
Breeding Dog Holders look after guide dog mums until they retire, at around six years of age. After this, they are given the option to keep the mum they have cared for as a pet dog.
Volunteers must be aged 18 or over and live within an hour’s drive of the Guide Dogs National Centre.
Anyone who can provide a loving, permanent home to a guide dog mum in Warwickshire should contact Volunteering Coordinator Verity O’Donnell via [email protected] or call 0800 781 1444.