Some of the county’s cleverest puppies are having a party – and they’re inviting residents to join them.
People will have a chance to meet puppies that are training to become assistance dogs for charity Canine Partners so that they can one day help disabled people with everyday tasks and boost their independence.
There will also be demonstrations from existing puppy parents showcasing some of the skills they teach the dogs and people will have a chance to speak to trainers and volunteers at the event at the charity’s southern training centre in Heyshott, West Sussex from 10.30am-12.30pm on March 1.
It comes as Canine Partners is urgently recruiting more people to become puppy parents, also known as puppy walkers, special volunteers who look after and help train future assistance dogs in their homes until they are about 12 to 14-months-old.
The volunteers provide early socialisation, taking the puppy into different environments and introducing it to different people, objects and animals so that it is confident and happy in any situation it may encounter when it begins working with a disabled person.
They also help with basic obedience and skills training, with support from one of the charity’s experienced puppy trainers.
Among the charity’s current puppy parents are grandparents-of-three Christine, 65, and Philip Louis, 69, from Goring-by-Sea who are currently looking after their seventh puppy for Canine Partners, a 14-week-old Labrador cross golden retriever called Stefan.
Christine, a retired secretary and mum-of-two, said: “I like being a puppy parent because I enjoy giving something back to the community by helping a disabled person regain their independence.
“It’s a great interest to have and an opportunity to help somebody else. It keeps you on your toes and it’s sociable because you meet lots of people. The puppy training classes are helpful too. It’s good fun.
“It is upsetting when the dogs leave to start their advanced training but that’s nothing when you see them working with their partner and know how much they have transformed their life.”
Puppy training supervisor Elaine Potter said: “It is vital that Canine Partners recruits more puppy parents so that we can help change the lives of more disabled people.
“Without these essential volunteers, we cannot train the numbers of dogs that are needed.
“By taking a puppy into their homes our volunteers know they can make an enormous difference and give someone back their independence.”
Puppy parents receive full ongoing support, both at their homes and at puppy training classes. Food, equipment, vet bills and temporary holiday care is provided.
For more information call 01730 716017 or visit caninepartners.org.uk/puppyparties.
Local Event: Upper Dicker Village Hall on May 19th 2017 or visit caninepartners.org.uk/puppyparties.