Assistance dog charity welcomes new puppies

ASSISTANCE dog charity Canine Partners has welcomed a litter of new puppies in Derby.

The nine puppies will grow up to be amazing assistance dogs for people living with physical disabilities across the UK, boosting their partners’ confidence and independence.

The new recruits have been living with their mum, a black Labrador called Urma, in a volunteer’s home.

Volunteers look after the canine partner mums, also known as brood bitches, and are also responsible for taking care of the new-born puppies until they are around seven weeks old.

Brood bitches live out in volunteer homes and spend most of the year as a well-trained family pet.

“Looking after the puppies involves plenty of stroking and cuddling, as well as introducing the puppies to play,” says Sian Evans, Canine Partners’ Brood Stock Coordinator.

“It also involves weaning the puppies onto solid food and critically starting off the early socialisation.”

Each brood is expected to have approximately four litters, one litter per year, before being retired.

The volunteers, also known as brood bitch holders, do not need any experience as all the relevant support and training will be provided by the charity.

“I have brood bitch Winnie and look after her, making sure she is healthy and ready for when she has a season and then to have her pups,” says Hazel Clutton, one of the charity’s volunteer brood bitch holders.

“The charity is always behind you and the breeding department is always on the end of the phone, so even if you’ve never had a dog they are there for you every step of the way.”

The puppies will be trained as canine partners and be taught a range of everyday tasks including picking up and retrieving items, opening doors and undressing a person. They can even help to load and unload a washing machine and they can fetch help in an emergency.

To apply you must be aged 18 or over, live within the designated area, have time to devote to the brood and her litter, have space within your home, have access to a car and be willing to drive the brood bitch on essential journeys such as vet appointments.

Becoming a brood bitch holder is a highly rewarding voluntary role. If you are interested please visit

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