PUPPY socialisers who help train and raise newborn pups that will go on to become assistance dogs are being sought by a charity.
Support Dogs, which trains assistance dogs for children with autism and adults with epilepsy and physical disabilities, is aiming to train 12 more puppies over the next year due to increasing demand.
Volunteer puppy socialisers will be expected to be at home for most of the day to dedicate their time to training and raising a puppy and attend regular group obedience classes.
Puppy socialisers – which is an unpaid role – must also live within an hour’s drive of Sheffield.
The puppies will need to be looked after for up to 15 months before they embark on their full training.
Support Dogs’ chief executive, Rita Howson, said: “Just loving cute puppies is not enough – potential puppy socialisers will have to be prepared to put in some hard work, cope with typical puppy behaviour and are committed to meeting the puppy’s physical and mental needs.
“But they will have the enormous satisfaction of knowing they are helping us train more much-needed assistance dogs for people with autism, epilepsy and physical disability.”
Ms Howson said Support Dogs had received more than 3,500 requests for its services in the past year from individuals and families in need – double the previous year.
In the past, Support Dogs has recruited prospective assistance dogs between the ages of 10 and 18 months from a variety of sources including other Assistance Dogs UK charities, rescue centres, council dog pounds and unwanted pets.
“We’re training more dogs than ever before but even so, we can’t meet demand, so we hope this new puppy scheme will help us bridge that gap,” she said.
The charity is also recruiting a full-time puppy co-ordinator to its training team and has extended the advertised closing date.
This is a paid role and the successful applicant will be responsible for selecting puppies and providing a structured training programme, for more information visit https://supportdogs.org.uk/about-us/vacancies/.
Prospective puppy socialisers are invited to attend a training centre in Brightside, Sheffield, on Wednesday, January 10.
For more information contact Support Dogs on 0114 2617800 or email email@example.com.