April 2022 – Canine Partners

Come and visit us here at Princes Mead on 14th April to see Canine Partners in action!

Canine Partners is a registered charity that assists people with physical disabilities to enjoy a greater independence and quality of life through the provision of specially trained dogs, whose well-being is a key consideration. Over the past 31 years the charity has provided and trained over 902 assistance dogs that help disabled people including over 430 that are active today.

More than 1.2 million people in the UK use a wheelchair, and a significant number of those would benefit from a canine partner assistance dog. The dogs are carefully matched to the applicant’s needs and lifestyle, no matter how challenging. They are trained to help with everyday tasks such as opening and closing doors, unloading and loading the washing machine, picking up dropped items, and pressing buttons and switches. They can even get help in an emergency!  We aim to train dogs to meet the needs of people with even the most complex disabilities including civilians and members of HM Armed Forces and works closely with the forces charity Help for Heroes.

There are 11 puppy training satellites across the UK where the pups are looked after by volunteers under the guidance of a Canine Partners’ specialist trainer, during which time they learn obedience and some basic core tasks. When the pups are around 14-16 months old they come into one of the charity’s training centres in West Sussex or Leicestershire for five months to learn the advanced task work and to be matched with their future partner. It takes around 20-24 months to train a canine partner from selection at eight weeks old through puppy training and advanced training until they are partnered with a person with physical disabilities. Each partnership has regular visits from the charity’s aftercare assistants and support and advice is available 24 hours a day.

These life transforming dogs also provide practical, physiological, psychological and social benefits including increased independence and confidence as well as increased motivation and self-esteem. A canine partner also brings companionship, a sense of security and increases social interaction. Canine Partners relies on donations to fund the creation of its life-transforming partnerships.

For further information please visit caninepartners.org.uk