I don’t much like puppies.
I like other people’s puppies as long as I don’t have to take care of them. But for myself I find them to be annoying little chewing, biting, whining, peeing, pooping machines. The reward for caring for a puppy is that it ends in a few months with a well behaved companion that you can love and enjoy for many years.
And that is why I admire puppy raisers, those people who take rude little canine barbarians and turn them into social working dogs that can then go on to make someone’s life better. And then they give them away and start all over.
Meet Britain's premiere puppy raisers
This married couple has raised a remarkable 48 guide dogs in 36 years.
Norma Stent, 72, a retired hair dresser, and her husband Derek, a retired optician, 82, fell in love in 1980, got married and soon after fell in love with puppy raising. Since then, they have raised two human children and 48 puppies including Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Labradoodles and Collies.
They start with seven-week-old puppies, housebreaking them, teaching them to walk on a leash and to follow basic commands in a variety of life situations. When the dogs reach 12 to 14 months old, it’s time to say goodbye and the dogs go to be assessed by Guide Dogs UK.
Most of the puppies are then given intensive training to become guide dogs to change the life of a blind person.
The Stents think that raising puppies is the most rewarding job in the world. Norma says:
Every single dog has been different. We have never had two the same. You watch these fluffy little puppies grow into lovely, mature dogs and you know that when they leave you, they will go on and help someone else.
You guys rock.