B.C. Guide Dog Services welcomed the next generation of guide dogs last Friday and over the next two years, local volunteers will help train these puppies to aid blind people and children with autism.
Gillie, a black Labrador retriever, gave birth to four males and four females.
Even before the pups were born, B.C. Guide Dogs had a list of names ready to go.
"As a way of thanking our major donors, we ask them to name a puppy," says Linda Thornton, breeding and puppy raising manager. "Some of our dogs have been named after companies or in memory of loved ones."
B.C. Guide Dogs breeds its own puppies.
"It takes a very special dog to be a guide dog," explains Thornton, "so it's important for us to know the genetic history and temperament of the puppies' parents."
B.C. Guide Dogs often collaborates with other guide dog charities worldwide to find the most suitable parents. In fact, this litter's dad, Max, came from a similar organization in California.
B.C. Guide Dogs is now seeking volunteer puppy raisers. The newborns will stay with their mom for the first seven weeks before moving in with puppy raisers in February.
The role of the puppy raiser is to socialize and teach the dog basic skills and obedience.
"Puppy raisers need to be able to bring the dog pretty much wherever they go, so the role is really best suited for retirees or at-home workers," says Thornton.
The charity provides ongoing training and covers all vet and dog food costs.
For more information, visit www.bcguidedog.com or call Linda Thornton at 604940-4504.