Meet Bear – the unwanted pet with a great future as a life-changing assistance dog.

The beautiful fox-red Labrador has been an opportunity to turn his life around – and that of his potential new owner - by national charity Support Dogs, which describes itself as ‘the charity that gives unwanted dogs a second chance.’

One in four of Support Dogs come from rescue centres or were unwanted pets yet once trained go on to transform the lives of children and adults with autism, epilepsy and disability.

Bear recently arrived at Support Dogs from Dogs Trust Manchester. Aged three, he is a bit older than most future support dogs, but the charity saw his immense potential and were keen to give him the opportunity to prove himself.

Bear came from a loving home, but because of a new baby his family were struggling to give him the life he deserved, and he was passed on to Dogs Trust. Rather than putting Bear up for re-homing, Dogs Trust contacted Support Dogs because they thought he had the qualities to make it as a professional assistance dog.

“As soon as I saw him, I knew instantly that I’d be taking Bear back with me,” said Danielle Kennedy, pictured, left, with Bear, who has a dog recruitment and assessor role with Support Dogs and is currently liaising with Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, dog wardens and specialist dog detection service to find more suitable, unwanted dogs to train as hero hounds.

 “He came straight up to me and was really friendly, and from day one he wanted to be loved by everyone he meets! He’s a good dog, very good with people and we’d love to have more like him.”

 Bear spent Christmas with volunteer foster carers (support dogs never spend a night in kennels.) Dogs Trust are following his progress and are keeping an eye out for more potential support dogs to pass on.

 Because of his age the Support Dogs’ training team are keen to swiftly assign him to a training programme, with the possibility that he might be an excellent seizure alert dog – trained to detect and warn of oncoming epileptic seizures.