Meet Mark, Fosterer Volunteer from Leicestershire

Posted 4 weeks ago

Mark is a Fosterer volunteer for Canine Partners and has looked after 2 dogs from the Advanced Training programme. This is his story:

My name is Mark Maksymiw and I live near Bradgate Park in north east Leicestershire. I have recently become a Fosterer volunteer for Canine Partners and I’ve looked after two dogs so far. The first was Zante, who was then followed by Koala.

We had a wonderful chocolate Labrador of our own called Jumble for fourteen years and it was great to see her grow from a puppy to a mature dog. When she passed away, we decided that we didn’t want to have a dog any more. How wrong we were! We really missed having a dog around the house and going for walks just wasn’t the same without a dog trotting along beside us.

We decided to look into volunteering and specifically into helping organisations that work with dogs. We heard about Canine Partners and all of the amazing work they do training assistance dogs that will go on to support disabled people. It was clear that they were a great charity that we could support, and the prospect of having a dog back in our house was an added bonus!

If you are thinking of becoming a volunteer I can heartily recommend it. Canine Partners is a great organisation and they provide lots of support for new volunteers.

We started with a short term foster for a lovely honey coloured Labrador called Zante. He was great fun with lots of energy. That was followed by long term foster for a black Labrador X Retriever cross called Koala. He was training at the charity’s Midlands Training Centre for part of the week and then we would supplement that with some further training at home.

He was also a great family dog, coming with us on trips and meeting the rest of the family. When it was time for him to move to his forever home it was sad but we could see that he was ready to begin his role as an assistance dog. Knowing that Koala was going on to change someone’s life made the whole experience of fostering incredibly rewarding.

If you are thinking of becoming a volunteer I can heartily recommend it. Canine Partners is a great organisation and they provide lots of support for new volunteers. The Advanced Trainers are on hand to give you plenty of advice and tips for helping your dog get ready for their role as an assistance dog. It’s very rewarding and fun to have a dog around the house and see them develop and learn a whole range of new skills, knowing that they will go on to use these skills to help a disabled person. Alongside all of that, you will have the perfect companion for those walks around the countryside.

Would you like to experience the wonders of looking after one of our dogs in Advanced Training who will go on to help transform the life of a disabled person? Find out more at caninepartners.org/foster.

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