Volunteers in Manly, Freshwater, and surrounds are needed to look after intelligent, affectionate puppies who will become Assistance Dogs in the future.
Assistance Dogs Australia is looking for about ten families in the lower Northern Beaches (but if you’re a little out of this area please still make contact), who will volunteer as puppy educators to raise future Assistance Dogs from when they are about eight weeks of age, to approximately 12-18 months of age, when they will then enter Advanced Training at the National Training School.
After they are raised by the Puppy Educators, these specially-bred Labradors go on to give freedom and independence to people around the country who are living with physical disability, autism, or police or military personnel who are living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Freshwater resident, Graham Chow, raised puppy Luna who became an Assistance Dog for a young boy, Kody, who has autism. Today, he looks after puppies when their main Puppy Educator goes on holidays. He said:
“Luna was my first dog, and we really were supporting each other. She certainly reduced my stress levels and I’m sure with the amount of pats, walks, and training, we must have boosted each other’s serotonin levels.
“The best thing about puppy volunteering is learning, there is so much to learn and so much to observe. All dogs, just like people, learn and behave differently. It is a challenge to discover how your dog learns, what drives their behaviour and what is the best thing you can do to support your dog in its journey. There are obvious parallels to other animals and indeed humans.”
Puppy Educators are guided through the journey with their little one by an Assistance Dogs Australia Puppy Education Supervisor from the local area.
Assistance Dogs Australia pays for all food, training equipment, veterinary care, and tick, flea and worming preventatives. The Puppy Educators will provide bedding, toys, and lots of time, patience and love.
Most community/public places welcome trainee pups for their training and socialisation, including shops and public transport.
If you are unable to welcome a pup in your home full time, but would still like to help, Assistance Dogs Australia is also looking for people who can provide temporary care for the puppies, drive puppies between locations, or help out at the National Training School in Waterfall doing handy work, gardening and landscaping.
Find out more by calling 1800 688 364 or visit www.assistancedogs.org.au or more directly to https://www.assistancedogs.org.au/support-us/puppy-volunteering/ if you would like to volunteer for Assistance Dogs Australia.
Assistance Dogs Australia relies on community generosity to place Assistance Dogs with clients free of charge.
This is not a sponsored post but Manly Observer editor Kim Smee is a Director on the National Charity’s board.