The West Country’s cleverest pups want you to come to their party!

SOME of the West Country’s cleverest puppies are having a party and they want as many people as possible to join them.

The puppies from assistance dog charity Canine Partner have been learning to help with the housework and even how to load and unload a washing machine.

But they have put their training on hold so that they can host a bumper party to encourage more people to sign up as voluntary puppy parents and help look after them as they learn their life-changing skills.

The puppy party event will run from 10.30am-12.30pm on September 5th at Stonehouse Community Centre in Gloucester.

The puppies will one day be matched to people with a physical disability and they will help boost their confidence and independence by helping with everyday tasks.

Canine Partners’ assistance dogs can pick up items people drop, open doors and help someone dress and undress. They can also help use a washing machine, help at a cash point and fetch help in an emergency.

Since the charity was founded 27 years ago it has matched nearly 800 physically disabled people with a canine partner and nearly 400 of those are out working today – but in order to help more people it needs to recruit more puppy parents to its growing teams.

The puppy parents will look after the pups during their first year and, with support from the charity’s trainers, they teach the puppies the basic skills they need so that they can go on to learn their life-changing tasks.

Among those already supported by a canine partner is Becky Andrews who was matched to Labrador cross golden retriever Gino in September 2013.

The 35-year-old from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, who has cerebral palsy, said: “Gino is so kind, gentle and eager to please.

“He helps in so many ways by getting items from shelves in supermarkets, handing my purse to the cashier, picking up dropped items when we are out, meaning that I no longer  need to go shopping with a carer. Together Gino and I can do it on our own.

“Gino also helps a great deal at home assisting me to undress by taking off socks, shoes, trousers, jacket and jumper. This means I can wear clothes I want such as skinny jeans and boots. Before Gino it wasn’t possible as I was unable take them off without help from someone.

“Knowing that I am able to train him to do new tasks for me is fantastic and has really helped to build my confidence in my own abilities

“Gino has changed my life. His love, companionship, loyalty and devotion to me is amazing, I feel so lucky and blessed to have him.

“I couldn’t imagine life without my angel in fur.”

Now Becky is calling for people to come to the puppy party and learn how they can volunteer to train more dogs like Gino.

With lots of advice and support, 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.

The recruitment drive comes as the growing charity aims to boost the number of volunteers so that it can meet an increasing demand for its dogs.

So far the charity’s puppy parties, including events in Glastonbury and Bristol, have been a great success and nearly 100 people have already expressed an interest in volunteering.

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.

Volunteers do not need previous dog training experience.

For more information call 01730 716017 or visit caninepartners.org.uk/puppyparties

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