Canine Partners, based in Midhurst, is looking for volunteers to care for the future assistance dogs in their homes full time while the dog is in training.
Emma Smith has been fostering for Canine Partners since 2018.
She looks after one of the charity’s assistance dogs in training until they are matched with a disabled person.
“The dogs will usually be required to attend the training centre for two or three days a week and the rest of the time they are at home with me, where I continue to reinforce the training they have been doing.”
Fosterers need to live local to the charity’s Southern Training Centre near Midhurst, ideally no further than a 45 minutes drive and be willing to drop off and pick up the dog for its daily training.
Canine Partners’ expert advanced trainers are on hand to support fosterers as they help future assistance dogs through their training.
“My advanced trainer provides huge amounts of support and guidance to me so I never feel as if I am doing everything on my own,” said Emma.
“The best thing for me about volunteering for Canine Partners has been the sense of purpose which having these incredible dogs in my life has given me.”
Canine Partners trains assistance dogs to transform the lives of disabled people, boosting their confidence and independence.
The dogs are taught a range of everyday tasks including picking up and fetching items, opening doors and undressing a person. They can even help to unload a washing machine and they can fetch help in an emergency.
As well as learning a variety of bespoke task work, the dogs also get plenty of downtime, play and rest each day during the advanced training.
Fosterers provide a vital role in supporting Canine Partners’ advanced trainers to ensure that the assistance dog in training is in tip top condition to be matched into partnership, which will change someone’s life.
All food, medical treatment and equipment such as beds and toys will be provided to the fosterer for the duration that the assistance dog is in their care.