New app matches Guide Dogs puppies and volunteers

Charity Guide Dogs is playing matchmaker, encouraging people to sign up and become volunteer puppy raisers.

By
Mark Dowie
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 1:17pm
New app matches Guide Dogs puppies and volunteers

New research reveals that 24% of people would adopt a dog if the costs were covered and a further 10% if it could be for just a short period of time such as a year.

Despite all the benefits of having a dog, 30% are deterred by the costs as the cost of living crisis continues, and 25% by the long-term commitment

Respondents to the research said they felt that retirees and children benefit the most from dogs.

Guide Dogs commissioned the survey and and as a result created matchmaking profiles to highlight its Puppy Raiser programme, where dog lovers can provide a loving home to a puppy for 12-16 months, with costs covered by the charity

With the continuing cost of living crisis, finances have been found to be the major barrier for dog ownership in the UK – with 24% of people saying they would adopt a dog if the costs were covered.

Despite dog ownership increasing during the pandemic and people continuing to work from home, some dog lovers are still deterred by the lifetime commitment. 30% of people without a dog said they were put off by the costs.

One in four (25%) were deterred by the idea of a commitment that is likely to be more than 10 years and 18% feel they do not have the relevant experience to look after a dog.

The research was conducted by charity Guide Dogs to highlight the charity’s Puppy Raiser volunteering programme, where dog lovers can look after a puppy for 12-16 months.

The top 10 benefits of dog ownership found to be:-

Companionship (47%)

Encourages more exercise/increases daily exercise levels (43%)

Eases loneliness (39%)

Reduces stress (39%)

Relieves depression and anxiety (37%)

Creates a sense of responsibility (34%)

Adds structure and routine to the day (32%)

Encourages me to meet new people when walking the dog (31%)

Provides purpose (31%)

Increases sense of safety and security (29%)

The charity only asks the volunteers to provide a loving home while guiding them through their training, socialisation and introduction to new environments and experiences – perfect for those not able to make a long-term commitment

The charity also covers the costs of the pup and provides ongoing support for the future guide dog.

To help puppies find their perfect partner, Guide Dogs has created a series of dating-app style profiles for puppies that need Puppy Raisers.

The profiles show puppies that need a home, and what they’re looking for in a short-term ‘match’ – ranging from time to care and outdoor space.

The research also polled dog owners, revealing the incredible impact dogs can have on a person’s life.

The most common benefit was companionship (47%), followed by an increase in physical exercise (43%).

In fact, dog owners do 30% more steps per day, with 40% claiming they wouldn’t be as physically active if they didn’t own a dog and feel 80% fitter as a result.

As well as improving their well-being, 25% of dog owners say their dog has played an active part in their social life.

Having a dog encourages them to meet new people when walking the dog (32%), adds structure and routine to the day (31%) and gives them another topic of conversation when speaking to new people (28%).

When looking at who benefits most - dog owners in retirement have said that having a dog has a positive impact on both their mental (65%) and physical health (63%), and that the dog is what keeps their minds most active (52%)

85% of dog owners with children say they have seen their children benefit too. Common perks for children include a greater sense of responsibility (37%), increased physical health (34%), increased calmness (34%) and more time away from screens (33%).

Haley Andrews, Head of Puppy Raising at Guide Dogs said: “Our research makes it clear that there are multiple benefits of having a dog, with a positive impact on both physical and mental well-being. In particular, retirees and families gain the most.

“It’s understandable the costs and long-term commitment are the main concerns though.

"We’re keen for those deterred by traditional dog ownership to consider becoming a Puppy Raiser.

"You get all the wonderful upsides having a dog, but with Guide Dogs covering the costs and supporting along the way.

"All we need from you is the time commitment for a puppy’s first year, so he or she can start the journey to becoming a life-changing guide dog for someone with sight loss.”

For more information on what is needed to be a puppy raiser, please visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/puppyraiser.

Guide Dogs exists to help the two million people living with sight loss live the life they choose. Children and adults. Friends and family. The charity’s expert staff, volunteers and life-changing dogs are here to help people affected by sight loss live actively, independently, and well.

Founded in 1934, following the first partnerships in 1931, Guide Dogs is a charity that is almost entirely dependent on donations.

It is the world's largest breeder and trainer of working dogs and has transformed 36,000 lives through guide dog partnerships since 1931.

Find out more at www.guidedogs.org.uk

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