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updated 12/10/01
Fancy a puppy for a year?
Ask Dogs for the Disabled

WOULD YOU like a puppy? Just for a year? Sign up with Dogs for the Disabled as a puppy socialiser and enjoy the company of a puppy for a whole year?

Puppy Socialisers, or 'puppy walkers' as they used to be called, provide a voluntary role within the national charity Dogs for the Disabled, and the many who already fill this valuable role say that it is both rewarding and a great deal of fun.

All puppy socialisers are supported throughout the placements by the charity's professional trainers who visit on a very regular basis to help with basic training and any problems as they arise.

Out and about: Puppies live at home for their first year of life so they mature into confident, well-adjusted dogs. Puppy socialisers take their dogs out and about in as many different environments as possible: for example, daily shopping in the supermarked and local shops, in the country, local towns as well as big cities. They are introduced to as many forms of transport as possible.

Early learners: Research has shown that all puppies do most of their learning early in life, at between four and six weeks, and that the best-adjusted dogs, for Dogs for the Disabled the most useful to their future partners, are those that are exposed to the most stimuli as early as possible. Dogs that are confident, steady and mature are trained more easily.

Worthy role: After the placement, dogs are trained to fetch cordless phones, take washing from machines and driers, switch on lights and pull open doors, and more specialised tasks, to help their human partners live a more independent life.

Needed

A dog is not always for life: More puppy socialisers are urgently needed. Whatever your personal circumstances whether families, single people or couples, applications are always welcome. The only stipulations are that your circumstances are fairly stable, and that you live within an hour's drive of the centre at Banbury. All bills are paid, vets, food and training. Please contact the charity for more information on 08700 776600.

Cold Turkey?: Most people worry that they will become too attached to the puppy to be able to give it back at the end of the placement, however, most puppy socialisers are offered the chance to 'foster' another puppy immediately - and most accept! And those who still pine but have to move on have the comfort of knowing that they have helped a disabled person to live a fuller life.

About the charity: Dogs for the Disabled, a charity set up since 1986 is based in Banbury, Oxfordshire and provides dogs that are trained to provide their owners with the help they need to live a fuller, more independent life.

"Dogs for the Disabled has trained over 200 dogs to carry out practical tasks, giving people with disabilities an enhanced quality of life. Many more people could benefit from a partnership with a dog to help them increase their independence and live life to the full," says Peter Gorbing, Dogs for the Disabled Chief Executive.

Fundraising groups organised events and activities all over the country, and new mwmbers and ideas are always welcome. A fundraising pack is available from the charity on telephone 08700 776600.