Everything we do as a charity is underpinned by our values and dedication to improve not only people’s lives but the lives of dogs.
Rescue and rehoming We feel there are many dogs that are without loving homes, but have huge potential to become support dogs. We are champions for dogs who need a second chance. We source many dogs from rescue centres, council pounds or our pet dogs that sadly their current owners are no longer able to look after. In fact one in four of our support dogs join us in training from this background. As a charity, we do not shy away from dogs that may be classed as difficult and therefore left without a home, as we know from experience that given the correct training, a good home and care these dogs can become fantastic assistance dogs. Do you know a dog that needs rehoming?We are actively seek out dogs from these backgrounds who have might have the potential to become a life-changing support dog. If you know such a dog please click here read more about how to introduce to this dog to us and and how this dog recruitment process works.Working with rescue centresWe have designed and delivered short training sessions to the animal care assistants in rescue centres and rescue charities to help them assess immediately which dogs would be suitable for our training programme. This means less time in the rescue centres, reducing the stress levels for the dog. The stress induced by moving into kennels at a rescue centre can have a hugely detrimental effect on some dog’s mental health, so placing them with a foster family at Support Dogs as soon as possible reduces this. Working with other charities not only helps to decrease the number of dogs in the rescue centres, but helps to create a positive image of rescue dogs as well as increasing awareness.
Dog welfare As registered members of the internationally-recognised governing body Assistance Dog UK, the welfare and training of all our assistance dogs is of paramount importance.
Our training consists of entirely positive, reward-based techniques, and we ensure that all our dogs enjoy every part of their training and life as a working animal.
During trainingDuring their period of training our dogs never stay in kennels, but spend their evenings and weekends in the homes of loving foster carers, enjoying their time off. Foster carers play an important part in life of a support dog in training, and can foster dogs for anything from a few weeks to a few months.Life after qualificationOnce qualified, the health of our support dogs remains of paramount performance. All our dogs receive regular health checks and assessments to ensure that not only they are physically able to continue in their role, but also to ensure they continue to enjoy their life.
RetirementOur dogs retire at 10 years of age, ensuring they are healthy enough to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. We work closely with our support dog partnerships to ensure this retirement process is managed over many months to ensure our clients continue to receive the support they need, potentially at the start of their next partnership, while the dog is assured a happy and stress-free later life.