AUTHOR Alice Anderson paid a special visit to the Heyshott-based headquarters of the Canine Partners charity to sign copies of her new book which was inspired by the specially-trained dogs.
By Her Side is the story of Cass whose life changes after an accident leaves her unable to walk.
Alice said she got the idea after coming across a photograph of a Labrador helping a woman in a wheelchair which turned out to be a Canine Partner: “I contacted the charity to ask if I could watch some training sessions and I watched in awe as these gorgeous bouncy puppies opened pedal bins and dropped tins of baked beaning into shopping baskets.”
Her visit came in the week Canine Partners launched an urgent appeal for puppy parents following a 50 per cent drop in the numbers.
The charity is struggling to recruit volunteers to help them train the puppies that will go on to transform a life.
Elaine Potter, the charity’s satellite trainer said: “We have a fantastic group of puppy parents at our centre but we need more volunteers.
“It really wouldn’t be an understatement to say that our puppy parents are the lifeblood of our charity – and we need more of them.”
A puppy parent would look after a young pup in their home while agreeing to attend a weekly training session with Elaine at Heyshott.
The charity currently has 170 puppy parents all across the UK who have committed to taking a puppy through training.
But the figure has seen a sharp decline around the training base in Heyshott.
Elaine explained: “Anyone who is thinking of becoming a prospective puppy parent should be at home for most of the day, be available to attend our once-a-week training sessions and accept our socialisation guidelines and training plan.
“Once our puppy parents hand over their charges they know the dog they have trained will increase the independence, confidence and self-esteem of a person with disabilities.”
During the course of their time with a puppy parent, the young dog will learn core skills for their spell in advanced training.
Anyone interested in helping or in more details should contact the puppy office on 01730 716017 or email puppyoffice @caninepartners.org.uk