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A volunteer puppy raiser sits beside a Golden Retriver puppy at a professional photoshoot.

Volunteer with CNIB Guide Dogs

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Do you love dogs? Could you see yourself welcoming a future guide dog puppy into your life? Do you have time during your day to introduce a pup to the world around them and help them take their first steps toward becoming a future guide dog? CNIB Guide Dogs is growing our team of volunteer Puppy Raisers and Boarders. 

As a volunteer with CNIB Guide Dogs, you can help change the life of a person who is blind or partially sighted. 

People with sight loss often say having a guide dog is a transformational experience. Being part of a guide dog team provides mobility, safety and confidence, leading to increased independence and a sense of connection with the world. At CNIB Guide Dogs, we raise, train and match dogs with Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. We also raise our voices to ensure people with sight loss have opportunities to live, work and play without barriers.

We are looking for people who are dedicated to caring for pups during their first year of life and starting them on their journey to becoming Guide Dogs. Previous experience with dogs is not required. If you’re eager to learn, the CNIB Guide Dogs team is here to provide you with support and training, so you can feel confident in your volunteer role.  

Volunteer Positions

Puppy Raiser: 

From ages 8 weeks to 12-15 months, you would provide a safe, loving home to one of our future Guide Dog puppies. With support from CNIB Guide Dogs staff, you would play a pivotal role in raising the puppy to become a guide dog and help change the life of someone who is blind or partially sighted.

Learn more about the role in this short video from AMI!

This includes:
  • Daily socialization in a variety of environments and situations
  • Daily walks on the leash
  • Attending regular training sessions with your Puppy Raising Supervisor during business hours
    • Weekly 1:1 training session in the first 4 weeks with the puppy
    • Monthly 1:1 and group sessions from the fourth week until the puppy goes to formal training
  • House training
  • Obedience training
  • Feeding
  • Grooming
  • Taking the puppy for routine veterinary visits
  • Providing updates on the puppy’s progress 
Time Commitment: 
  • 12-15 months
  • Availability during business hours
Locations:
  • Calgary, AB 
  • Halifax, NS
  • Toronto, ON (East of Bathurst St, and South of Highway 407) 
  • Regina, SK
  • Winnipeg, MB

If you live in one of the above locations and are interested in bringing a future guide dog into your home for approximately a year, we are eager to hear from you. 

Please note that in order to provide the volunteers and puppies with required support from CNIB staff members, we are only able to place puppies in the above locations. 

What we are looking for:
  • People who are relaxed and comfortable around dogs
  • Excellent communication skills, with the ability to engage positively with CNIB staff members, fellow volunteers, and community members 
  • Excellent organizational skills, with the ability to maintain a steady daily routine for a puppy and track their progress
  • Excellent interpersonal skills 
  • Flexible schedule, with the ability to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to a puppy
  • Open-minded and flexible in your dog training and care ideas and willing comply with CNIB Guide Dog training and care methods
  • Dog handling skills are an asset
Home Environment:
  • Your home is located in one of our Puppy Club locations
  • Dogs are permitted in your home
  • You have quick access to a safe and suitable relief area for a puppy, ideally a 8’X8’ paved surface
  • All members of your household are happy to have a puppy living in your home for approximately a year
  • Your home is clean and clutter-free (we can support with puppy-proofing)
  • All pets in your home, are friendly and fully vaccinated
  • Smoke-free home

Please note that as a part of the application process, a CNIB Guide Dogs staff member will complete a home assessment to ensure that the home is a suitable environment for a future guide dog.

What we require:
  • You are 18 years of age or older
  • You have access to a vehicle for transportation of a puppy
  • You have access to the internet and an e-mail address
  • You would be able to cope with giving the puppy back at 12-15 months of age when they will enter their formal guide dog training
  • You are able to safely handle a strong, energetic, large breed dog daily for up-to a year
  • You are able to safely take the dog on walks outdoors in all four seasons in varying weather, including winter
  • You are able to frequently take the dog to public places for required socialization
  • You are willing to sign an agreement stating the terms and conditions of the Puppy Raising Program
  • You are willing to provide valid proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 in line with CNIB’s Volunteer Vaccination Policy
  • You are willing to complete an Enhanced Police Information Check via our background check partner Sterling Backcheck. All costs are covered by CNIB. 
What we provide: 
  • CNIB Guide Dogs covers the costs of all necessary veterinary care, equipment, and food
  • Individualized support from a Puppy Raising Supervisor
  • Phone and e-mail support during business hours
  • 24-hour emergency line
  • Volunteer boarders are available on occasion for short-term care 
  • Ongoing training, engagement, and learning opportunities with CNIB Guide Dogs

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Boarder:

Boarders provide temporary care for future CNIB Guide Dogs. With support from CNIB Guide Dogs staff, you would play a pivotal role in supporting future guide dogs and help change the life of someone who is blind or partially sighted.

This includes:
  • Providing a safe, comfortable, and secure, environment for the dog
  • Providing updates on the dog's progress
  • Transporting the dog to training areas as needed 
  • Maintaining the dog’s training, routine, and appropriate social behaviour 
Time Commitment: 
  • Minimum 6 months
  • Long-term and short-term opportunities, depending on location and need
  • Regular and casual opportunities, depending on location and need
  • Availability on evenings, weekends, and holidays is considered an asset
Locations:
  • Calgary, AB 
  • Carleton Place, ON (and surrounding area)
  • Halifax, NS
  • Kemptville, ON
  • Regina, SK
  • Toronto, ON (East of Bathurst St, and South of Highway 407)
  • Winnipeg, MB

If you live in one of the above locations and are interested in bringing a future guide dog into your home on a temporary basis, we are eager to hear from you. 

Please note that in order to provide the volunteers and puppies with required support from CNIB staff members, we are only able to board dogs in the above locations. 

What we are looking for:
  • People who are relaxed and comfortable around dogs
  • Excellent communication skills, with the ability to engage positively with CNIB staff members, fellow volunteers, and community members 
  • Excellent organizational skills, with the ability to maintain a steady daily routine for a puppy or guide dog in training and track their progress
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Flexible schedule, with the ability to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to a puppy or guide dog in training while in your care
  • Open-minded and flexible in your dog training and care ideas and willing comply with CNIB Guide Dog training and care methods
  • Dog handling skills are an asset
Home Environment:
  • Your home is located in one of our Boarding locations
  • Dogs are permitted in your home
  • You have quick access to a safe and suitable relief area for a puppy, ideally a 8’X8’ paved surface
    • If you are located in Carleton Place or Kemptville ON, we require a fully fenced yard
  • All members of your household are happy to have a puppy or guide dog in training living in your home temporarily
  • Clean and tidy home 
  • All pets in your home, are friendly and fully vaccinated
  • Smoke-free home

Please note that as a part of the application process, a CNIB Guide Dogs staff member will complete a home assessment to ensure that the home is a suitable environment for a future guide dog.

What we require:
  • You are 18 years of age or older
  • You have access to a vehicle for transportation of a puppy or guide dog in training
  • You have access to the internet and an e-mail address
  • You are able to safely handle a strong, energetic, large breed dog while they are in your care
  • You are able to safely take the dog on walks outdoors in all four seasons in varying weather, including winter
  • You are willing to sign an agreement stating the terms and conditions of the Boarding Program
  • You are willing to provide valid proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 in line with CNIB’s Volunteer Vaccination Policy
  • You are willing to complete an Enhanced Police Information Check via our background check partner Sterling Backcheck. All costs are covered by CNIB
What we provide: 
  • CNIB Guide Dogs covers the costs of all necessary veterinary care, equipment, and food
  • Individualized support from CNIB Guide Dogs staff members
  • Phone and e-mail support during business hours
  • 24-hour emergency line
  • Ongoing training, engagement, and learning opportunities with CNIB Guide Dogs

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Apply Here!

If you are interested in becoming a CNIB Guide Dogs volunteer, please fill out the application form to get the process started. 

CNIB Guide Dogs Volunteer Application Form

CNIB is committed to creating and fostering an inclusive culture and welcomes applications from diverse candidates, including but not limited to the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) community, persons with disabilities, people who are blind or partially sighted, and those who identify as women, gender diverse, and/or 2SLGBTQ+. We strongly encourage applications from applicants with sight loss. Direct lived experience would be a definite asset. If at any stage you require accommodation, please let us know and we will work with you to support your accessibility needs. We're excited to review your application! 

Please Note: while we invite applications from all interested and qualified applicants, we are unable to follow-up with every applicant. 

Closing Date: TBD

Get Informed!

Sign up for our Guide Dog Gazette e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our CNIB Guide Dog Program. Find out about opportunities to meet and support our future guide dogs, and watch their journey unfold.