Thirteen-week-old puppy Dora

B.C. guide dogs need temporary homes in Greater Victoria

Retired couples are often best suited to care for puppies as they undergo regular training with B.C. Guide Dogs

At just over three months, Mia is one smart puppy. She stops at every curb and door she comes across and is now learning to do the same for escalators.

On a sunny Tuesday morning, Mia weaves through a precariously designed obstacle of cones, baby gates, tissues, balls and other natural street distractions during her B.C. Guide Dogs class in the lacrosse box of Topaz Park.

It’s the life of a guide dog in training, but when it’s play time, there’s no mistaking Mia as just another playful pup, jumping and rolling with the rest of her class.

“It’s all work on the leash and play time can only be off lead, when we allow it,” says Pierre Gagne, one half of Mia’s puppy raising team along with partner Marlene Homan.

Gagne is self-employed and works from his Victoria home, which make he and Homan ideal candidates.

It’s their first time raising a puppy for the B.C. Guide Dogs and the organization is looking for more puppy raisers in the Greater Victoria area as three litters become available for both September and October.

Retired couples are often best suited, or others in a position such as Gagne, says local puppy raising supervisor Laura Mahoney.

Classes are outside at Topaz but Mahoney is hoping to move indoors if the space is made available through a willing donor.

“We’ve been outside for 10 years, which is just fine during the beautiful summer days we’re having, but year round is tough,” says Mahoney.

Other cities are able to use donated facility time, such as in churches, but with a limited budget, the local B.C. Guide Dogs chapter will remain outside for the foreseeable future.

As for the puppies, they’re placed with ideal candidates for puppy raising at seven weeks old and live with the puppy raiser up to 18 months. The dogs are actually bred by BC Guide Dogs in Delta, a cross between lab and retriever. They graduate through a series of programs and ideally become a guide dog for vision impairment. Should the animals fall short of the rigid requirements, they are still highly capable and are placed with the family of someone with autism.

Anyone interested in applying as a puppy raiser can contact Laura Mahoney at 250-413-3095 or by email at laura.mahoney@bcguidedog.com.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich councillor open to more commercial operations in local parks

Coun. Ned Taylor had raised the issue during his election campaign

Search for missing Saanich Peninsula pair ends in tragedy

Vehicle found with two deceased occupants inside

Langford’s Sarah Beckett Memorial playground opens

Life of West Shore RCMP Constable honoured with new playground

Haber nets strong comeback in Pacific FC home game win

Vancouver Island team takes 2-0 win over Valour FC

Improvements to Sinclair Road coming

Development comes after Cadboro Bay Residents Association (CBRA) raised concerns

VIDEO: Here’s the news you missed this weekend

Some of the top weekend headlines from your community and beyond

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Most Read