Happy news about animals
Gisborne’s newest guide dog puppy has been born, with no shortage of appetite.
“Coastie” was brought into the world on July 10, immediately scurrying under his mother’s belly for a feed.
He is the first puppy to be born and raised with money collected by Gisborne Bayleys Real Estate.
The name may change as Coastie grows up but it is hoped the Gisborne link will stay, says real estate agent John Egan.
The firm raised $22,500 for Guide Dog Services, which is what it will cost to raise and train Coastie to become a New Zealand guide dog.
Bayleys will receive the first formal photo of Coastie when he reaches seven weeks, says Mr Egan.
Although his name reflects his financial heritage, at this stage it is not known where Coastie will eventually end up.
Like all New Zealand guide dog puppies, Coastie was born and bred at Auckland’s Guide Dog Services.
He will be raised there until he is seven weeks old, when he will leave to live with a walking family for up to 15 months, says Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) head of regional funding Diane Armstrong.
This period in Coastie’s life will introduce him to socialising with different people, animals and situations, such as going to a cafe or into the workplace.
Coastie will return to Guide Dog Services for formal training after his time with the family, to learn things like waiting at traffic lights and safety while walking on roads.
“He will be taught things like doors, lefts, roads, but once he gets matched with his new owner things become more particular. He will be taught his owner’s regular destinations.”
The bond between guide dogs and their potential new owner is key when it comes to matching guide dogs and people. The dogs will spend many years being the seeing eyes for their owners.
However, not all make it to this stage.
About 30 percent of puppies are withdrawn from becoming guide dogs.
“Puppies are like kids — you will get 10 that will be fantastic and one that will say ‘nope, I’m just not doing it’,” says Ms Armstrong.
Each litter of Guide Dog Service puppies is born into an alphabetic naming system, which helps the service locate exactly where a guide dog is from.
Coastie was the sole puppy in his “litter”, requiring a name that started with C.
For now Coastie has a lot of sleeping, playing and feeding to get through before the hard work begins.