Dogs are only pregnant for nine weeks, so when ‘Nora’ went into labour a week early, she was rushed to an external vet for specialist care.
Our Guide Dogs vet, Dion Humbler, and the nursery team worked around the clock with the team at Queensland Veterinary Specialists to give ‘Nora’ and her pups the best chance of survival.
Miraculously, seven yellow puppies survived. For the first week of their lives they lived in a portable Intensive Care Unit that was kept at a constant 30 degree temperature. The pups hadn’t developed the ability to suck, so every two hours they were hand-fed just a dribble of milk through a tube.
One of the little girls, ‘Hope’, had a few health issues and was unable to undertake Guide Dog training but found a loving home with one of the vets who saved her life. Just a few months later, her six brothers and sisters are now preparing to take their first steps to becoming Guide Dogs – heading home with their Puppy Raisers.
A vet clinic to call our own
‘Nora’s’ emergency procedure and the birth of her seven surviving pups highlighted the need for a veterinary clinic onsite at Guide Dogs Queensland’s Nursery and Training Centre at Bald Hills.
A $230,000 grant from Hand Heart Pocket the charity of Freemason Queensland, has allowed construction to start on the vet clinic, but more funds are needed for the fit-out and ongoing expenses.
Guide Dog breeding is set to increase by 70 per cent over the next couple of years to meet the growing demand for working Guide Dogs. With more and more puppies on the way, a dedicated on-site clinic will cut expenses by more than half, with external vet bills costing our charity almost $220,000 each year. Guide Dogs Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michael Kightley said the savings would make it possible to train an additional 24 dogs over the next five years.
“There are currently more than 30 people on the wait list for a Guide Dog,” Mr Kightley said.
“The new clinic will help us meet this growing demand while providing a full-service facility with comprehensive healthcare for Guide Dogs from the day they’re born and throughout their working life.”
To help with the fit-out of the new vet clinic, visit guidedogsqld.com.au to donate.