Across New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Guide Dogs Australia welcomed its first litter of Labrador puppies for 2023.
Mother Febe gave birth to six healthy puppies, two males and four females evenly split with three yellow and three black puppies.
Named by staff members, the litter includes Soda, Honey, Joyce, Jina, Rocket and Beau, named for the first guide dog trained in Australia.
Leah Willet, Whelping Advisor at Guide Dogs Australia, said this first litter of the year is a reminder of the opportunities to come in 2023.
“We never tire of seeing new pups arrive safely into the world, and there’s just something about the first litter of the year – they remind us we’ve got another beautiful year ahead of working with these amazing dogs to help them take on a life changing role in our community.
“Febe is an absolute natural at looking after them, they are currently four weeks old and starting to explore the sights, sounds and smells of the world around them,” said Willet.
The puppies will spend their first two months in the care of their mother, after which they will be transferred into the care of volunteer puppy raisers to start their journey to becoming guide dogs.
Willet said the support of volunteer Puppy Raisers is invaluable in the life of a Guide Dog, and many more are urgently needed across Australia to keep up with demand.
“Having love and support from a Puppy Raiser makes such a difference in a Guide Dog’s journey, it is a crucial role that helps the puppies develop the skills they will need to one day become a life-changing Guide Dog for someone with low vision or blindness.
“With the pups being born on New Year’s, it is the perfect opportunity for a new Puppy Raiser to grow and develop alongside the pup throughout 2023. If you’ve ever thought about raising a puppy for Guide Dogs, why not start the year off right,” said Willet.