The foster carers are needed to care for the dogs temporarily prior to them attending the charity’s training base in central Sheffield.
Newly appointed volunteer co-ordinator Gillian Rigby said: “Our stay at home foster carers look after our dogs full time in their own home. This is while they are not in school on a regular basis which can be for a variety of reasons – they could be recovering from a health problem or are too young to start their formal training.”
Support Dogs trains and provides specialist assistance dogs to support children and adults with disabilities, autism and epilepsy. It does not use kennel facilities while its dogs are in training, preferring instead to use volunteer foster carers.
Gillian said: “Fostering one of our dogs suits people who want a dog but cannot commit to the full ownership of one. We are looking for foster carers who can provide a loving environment for our dogs to help them achieve their goal of being a fully trained assistance dog.”
Stay at home foster carers need to live within an hour’s travel from the charity’s training centre. Support Dogs will provide all necessary equipment including food and vet care and operates a 24-hour emergency telephone line. Volunteers need to have a secure garden, can commit to exercising the dog and follow the charity’s training advice.
Gillian added: “We also provide alternative foster care for when volunteers wish to go on holiday or have weekend breaks or day trips booked.”