Adoption Information

Thank you for your interest in adopting a dog from Blind Low Vision NZ Guide Dogs. We appreciate your interest in providing a permanent home for a dog that is no longer suitable as a Guide Dog and now requires a career change.

As part of our adoption procedure we keep a register of all people who wish to adopt a retired Guide Dog or one of our dogs which is not suited for guiding work. With the right home environment, these dogs can make wonderful pets, however adopting a former guide dog, or a dog that has been withdrawn from training, is a big responsibility.

Sometimes, there is more than one person with a vested emotional interest in the dog, and this is particularly so with a retired guide dog. These dogs are accustomed to human companionship and thus require a home where they become an integral member of the family.

Our dogs may require a career change at various stages of their lives, and for various reasons. Health problems or temperament reasons may render them unsuitable for guide work. It could be that they are from our Training Programme, and these dogs are, in general, aged between 12 and 18 months.

On occasion, retired guide dogs become available for adoption. It is normally time for a working guide dog to kick back, relax and enjoy retirement any time from nine to 13 years of age. Homes that can offer the dog a happy retirement and take care of them in their aging years, providing any medical care needed, are welcomed.

Occasionally a puppy under the age of 12 months may be found to be unsuitable to continue on the Puppy Development Programme and may be available for adoption.

If you wish to adopt one of our dogs, you will be expected to sign an Agreement stating you will take full care and responsibility for the dog’s health, welfare and security and that you will continue to register and vaccinate annually. The dog must not be used as a guide dog for a blind person and the dog shall live inside as a member of the family.

Please note that if you are successful in adopting one of our dogs, an adoption fee will apply to a maximum of $600. There is no adoption fee for retired dogs.

Adoption points to consider:

  1. The dog will be totally dependent on you for as long as it lives. It will depend on you for food, veterinary attention, company and play.
  2. Dogs can be expensive. Responsible ownership costs money. Feeding, housing, fencing, worming, vaccinations, veterinary health checks, registration and holiday boarding are costs which must be met in order to adequately care for a dog.
  3. You must have a secure, or fully fenced section.
  4. Most importantly, you must have time. All dogs need basic care and attention, feeding, grooming, exercise and careful training. If a dog is deprived of company and attention for longer than 3-4 hours, it may result in anti-social behaviour e.g. chewing, barking, aggression or a breakdown in toilet habits. If you lead a busy lifestyle and you do not have time to spend with the dog during the day, you would be unwise to adopt a dog.

The Adoption Process

When your completed adoption application form is received by Guide Dogs and you meet our criteria, your details will be added to the adoption waiting list and you will be sent confirmation that you are on our register. This will remain provisional until your property is checked. Your application will remain active for two years after which, if you wish to remain on the wait-list, you will need to submit a new application.

Once a dog becomes available, or sometimes before, Guide Dogs will carry out an informal home visit in order to meet you and assess the home environment. You will be fully informed of the dogs’ history and reason for withdrawal. If you accept the dog recommended, you will receive basic handling and care instructions.

An Adoption Agreement form is signed and the dog is placed with you for a two week trial period. We will keep in touch throughout the trial period, and any problems or concerns can be discussed and additional advice provided. At the completion of the trial period, you will either be contacted by phone or visited to assess the placement. It is important to us that each dog is matched well with its new career/family so we are always available to talk to if you need us.

If you are still interested in adopting one of our dogs, please complete the application form below. If you are unable to complete the form online, please email, and an adoption pack can be sent to you for completion.