Writer Jackie Austin was looking for a way to give back to the community that welcomed her with open arms when she moved to Ireland three years ago, and when she heard of Irish Guide Dogs’ Puppy Raising Programme, she knew she had found the perfect opportunity.
“It’s been fantastic,” she says. “I’d highly recommend becoming a Puppy Raiser.”
Jackie works from her home in Limerick and has enjoyed the experience of training her first puppy, Jerry, adding it has been “a fulfilling experience.”
As a recent addition to her community, Jackie found it easy to settle in as Jerry was a great conversation starter. She has been overwhelmed by the positive reactions from the public when she’s out and about with the puppy.
“When we’re out on the street, or visiting my husband at work, it’s like he’s a rock star. Everyone wants to know about him, and he turns heads wherever he goes.”
The support from Irish Guide Dogs, and particularly the Puppy Raising classes, have been invaluable, and she has met many people through the organisation. Her time training Jerry is coming to a close and despite the heartache of saying goodbye she’s glad she has played a role in making someone’s life better.
After trying out Puppy Raising for a year, Jackie is already hoping to take on another recruit. Jackie believes any dog lover with time to spare at home should consider Puppy Raising.
“It’s going to be difficult, but knowing that Jerry is going to change someone’s life makes it all worth it.”