Ahhhh, aren’t they adorable?
Our fourth installment of Charities Behind the Lens is all about puppies. If you missed any of the last three posts, then catch up here:
- Revealing our first charity
- When Aaron met Bruno
- Watch those doggies walk for the cause
These little bundles of energy with soulful eyes have no idea how important they will one day be, or how much they will need to rely on that energy. Because the role of a puppy at Irish Dogs for the Disabled is an important one!
And this is only the beginning of a puppies’s journey.
Stage one – Becoming part of a family
A lot of testing goes into our selection of the best breeding dogs to ensure we produce the best puppies possible. From day one, all puppies are handled and loved as they start to experience life!
At eight weeks hey are placed with our amazing volunteer puppy socialisers across the country. All our puppies are placed with our volunteer families that prepare them for the life ahead as an assistance dog. They remain in these homes until they are between 12 & 18 months.
Throughout the puppy stage, all dogs are tracked on their progress and their individual likes and dislikes. These assessments assist us with identifying how the specific dog could assist a child or adult living with a physical disability.
Then training begins where dogs are trained through a variety of positively reinforced methods such as food and toys. Dogs are trained to carry out a range of tasks from opening/closing doors, retrieving dropped items, turning on/off lights, sending for help or even assisting a child with walking plus much more…..
Stage 3 – It takes two for training
At this point the big pup is now ready to be paired with a owner as an assistance dog. It’s a real exciting time, but it’s the most important because the match has to be right. It’s Jennifer’s role to assess who will be the best fit with the pup and after she has decided, a first meeting is set up. My second post for Charities Behind the Lens told of the story of when Aaron met Bruno and the video was taken on their first meet.
If the meeting goes well, then the real training begins. This is when the client comes in for training and they are educated on how to instruct their assistance dog to assist them. The process takes approximately two weeks and is the most important part of all the training.
So you see, the pups in the pictures are innocent and sweet, but they have a purposeful life ahead of them in the homes of their owners. All the money that you can donate to them will ensure that they can fulfill that life and change lives.
If you are a sucker for a sweet face, then sign yourself up as a puppy socialiser. All that is required is love, a good home and to sign that you’ll give him back (tough, I know, but they don’t stay as pups for long!)
Image credit: Irish Dogs for the Disabled www.dogsforthedisabled.ie