They might be life-changing assistance dogs of the future but Dan, Derek and Westie are also just puppies who want to have fun!

The cute threesome, who are pups-in-training with  Support Dogs, were given a special Puppy Party to celebrate their first birthdays – and to mark the next stage of their training.

Staff at the charity provided cake, balloons and toys for the trio, who enjoyed party games and generally being the centre of attention.

The puppies are all being looked after by puppy socialisers - volunteers in and around Sheffield who care for them in the 12-month period before they enter their full training at the age of 15 months.

Now Support Dogs are appealing for more volunteer puppy socialisers to come forward to look after the next batch of puppies, due to arrive at their national training centre in Brightside next month.

“We rely heavily on our volunteer puppy socialisers to provide a loving home for our pups until they are old enough to train to be assistance dogs; it’s perfect for people who love dogs but can’t commit to owning one,” says Support Dogs’ chief executive Rita Howson.

“It can be hard work but people have the satisfaction of knowing they have helped in the training of a valued assistance dog that can transform the lives of people with serious medical conditions. “

Support Dogs train assistance dogs for children with autism and adults with epilepsy and physical disability, enabling them to lead safer, more independent lives.

Puppy socialisers have to live within an hour’s drive of Support Dogs’ training centre, be at home during the day, and have an enclosed garden. Anyone interested in applying should contact the charity on 0114 2617800 or email [email protected]