Volunteer puppy parents required

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 April 2015

Nick and Carole Pope with Vienna.

Nick and Carole Pope with Vienna.

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A SOMERSET couple have told their story about bringing up a trainee assistance dog to encourage more people to do the same.

These ‘puppy parents’ provide the early training for young dogs who will one day help to transform the lives of disabled people.

Nick and Carole Pope run a golf shop together in Wedmore.

But when their 11-year-old daughter got tired of all the talk about golf, they discussed getting in touch with the charity Canine Partners to train one of its puppies.

Nick said: “I had wanted to be a puppy parent for several years and Carole had always said no as she couldn’t bear the thought of giving away ‘our’ dog.

“However, when I searched on the internet and found that our local satellite group was only half an hour away, we tentatively showed interest via the Canine Partners website.”

Nick and Carole were invited to a training class to see if it was something they wanted to do.

Nick added: “From the moment we stepped into that first friendly class environment we were hooked.”

After attending four classes and having a home visit, they were told they would be looking after a nine-week-old Labrador called Vienna.

Once the dogs are trained, they help people with disabilities enjoy greater independence.

They can open and close doors, unload the washing machine and even get help in an emergency.

Canine Partners works alongside Help For Heroes to train dogs to meet the needs of members of the Armed Forces with disabilities.

Vienna passed her assessment and the couple then became puppy parents to Ludo.

Nick said: “I can’t put into words the fun and satisfaction we get out of seeing the little bundles of fun grow into confident and well-mannered dogs.

“Becoming puppy parents has changed our lives for the better, we spend more time as a family out and about, we cry with laughter most weeks at puppy class and have met some amazing people we can now call our friends.”

For more information, visit www.caninepartners.org.uk/somerset

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