In my post of 22nd September 2010, I told how we had lost two dogs in a year to cancer. The house seemed so empty without a dog and we do not yet feel ready to take on another rescue dog, so we're doing something quite different. My wife and I have become socialisers for a charity which trains dogs to help the disabled by doing wonderful things like fetch the phone, unload the washing machine, help dress/undress, take purse to till, push buttons on pedestrian crossings, etc. They are all wonderful golden retrievers, and we get one for anything between a few days and a month. This is prior to their intensive training at 18 months old for 6 months.
We teach them good manners, to be cool with traffic, noises, distrations, strangers, other dogs, to obey basic commands, etc. It is very rewarding. No one keeps them for too long during training to prevent mutual heartbreaks! The downside, of course, is that we cannot become too attached. But the secret is to think of this as having a lot of (very similar) dogs. And when we lose one we gain one. Hopefully we'll see a lot of the same dog over a year, anyway. We only started yesterday, but our first trainee, Mia, is a delight.
Would you like to help sponsor one of these dogs? It costs £5,000 to train a puppy during the first 2 years, and then a further £6,000 for backup during its 10 active working years. Schools and firms often sign-up to sponsor a dog. How about you or yours? Or you can contribute as little as £3 per month as an individual. Please let me know if you would seriously like to get involved in this and I will give you further information.