CNIB Needs Help Loving Puppies? Sign Us Up!

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
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The Canadian National Institute For the Blind (CNIB) just announced a dog lover’s dream job–an opportunity to love and raise soon-to-be guide dogs.

I may be biased, but as a pet writer for, I have the best job in the world.

That said, the Canadian National Institute For the Blind (CNIB) just released information about a job that just may take the puppycake–an official Puppy Raiser!

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The CNIB just began it’s 100th year by launching their Guide Dog Program, which will raise and train dogs to be service animals for people with sight loss. The first trainees arrived in Canada earlier this week, looking as cute and ready as can be, and they lead the way for the expected puppies that will come into the program over the next year. Cuddly golden retrievers, Piper and Baker are on target to be the first graduates in late 2018, and to be matched with clients shortly after.

To aid the efforts, CNIB is looking for Puppy Raisers in the Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax. Puppy Raisers would not be responsible for actual service training, but for basic love, care and puppy preparation from the age of eight weeks to about 12-15 months. The Puppy Raiser will be part of CNIB’s supervised obedience and socialization program and all costs for the puppies will be paid for by CNIB.

CNIB President and CEO John Rafferty says that Canadians with sight loss have shared what services and choices they’d like to have when it comes to service dogs, and the CNIB’s purpose is to train their service dogs to meet those needs. Most importantly, Rafferty says, they want to ensure maximum success for every person with a guide dog–for both the user and dog. Full enjoyment of that relationship is a priority.

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As part of the initiative, the CNIB is in process to gain accreditation from the International Guide Dog Federation, which will focus on blind/partially sighted users. They will only work with Golden or Labrador Retrievers from top guide dog breeders, and they will tailor training schedules and goals based on partnership with the user. This may even include training in the user’s home community. All of this will be done at no cost to the user, and both the user and dog will have CNIB’s full support through the life of the dog.

CNIB national board member Victoria Nolan is optimistic about the program, as there are almost half a million partially sighted and blind people in Canada. A guide dog offers freedom, confidence and mobility, and Nolan hopes that the program’s advocacy for accessibility will allow guide dog users the ability to go anywhere and/or do anything without discrimination.

And it all begins with loving on some furry fluffs before they start their important training. If you’re interested in how to sign up for the (second) best job ever, you can find more information at CNIB’s Guide Dog Volunteer page.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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