Why did you decide to do it?

Community – it was one way we could make a contribution and it suited our new lifestyle. We always loved dogs but couldn’t commit to one just yet, for a lifetime, so a commitment for one year really suited us

What has the puppy raising experience been like for you and your family?

Fun, consistent fun. And a consistent responsibility which sometimes is not always fun. But, we totally recommend puppy raising.

What does puppy raising mean to you?

Opportunity. We are given an opportunity to nurture a vital animal in a formative stage of its life. It’s a privilege.

Do you enjoy it?

Absolutely, without hesitation. We now treasure too many stories about Sultan and us. We meet so many new people, so interesting and giving in their own ways. And a lot of fun. And we learnt new things about dogs, fascinating really.

What is the hardest thing about it?

Patience, particularly at the beginning, but it gets way easier. The support from the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is outstanding. You are never alone, so there isn’t really anything hard about this adventure.

Oh, and dog farts. Sultan could really make his presence felt sometimes.

And giving him up. It will be joyful, tearful and just hard. And so worth it.

What is the most fun/ rewarding part?

  • Cuddles – particularly on the stairs when you both sit down. And when he greets you whenever and wherever about the house, which is about 30 times a day.
  • Growth – amazing growth in a dog from 10 weeks to 14 months. Physically, intellectually, maturity. Sultan grew to become a wholly intuitive dog, pretty well knowing everything around him, and yourself. (One time, I was by myself in the kitchen and I came to think about an annoying thing that was happening at work. Sultan had seen my face turn from a calm face to a scowl. He came running over and just sat down at my feet and looked up at me with that big head of his. He brought me back to the real world, in an instant. He just gives).
  • ‘Showing off’ your dog when on walks. And the amazing conversations you have with everybody when Sultan leads the way.
  • Connecting with the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Amazing people.

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