Canine partners in Essex urgently needs volunteer puppy parents!

THE Essex puppy training satellite for Canine Partners - a charity that provides highly trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities - urgently needs people to come forward and volunteer to be puppy parents so it can continue to train puppies in the county.

A Canine Partners puppy parent looks after a puppy from the age of eight weeks up until it is ready for advanced training, which can take from 6-18 months.

This will include offering the puppy a loving home during its training, taking the puppy to weekly training classes at Writtle College and socialising the puppy into the community. Reasonable travel expenses will be covered and puppy food, toys, equipment, all veterinary costs and training is provided.

Rhiannon Sheppard is currently looking after her second canine partner puppy Metro.

“Being a puppy parent has given me a chance to overcome my health issues, at the same time as helping a person with disabilities,” she said.

“We go out and about all the time, which keeps me busy and you constantly meet new people. Anyone who has the time and space for a dog can help, whether it is as a full time puppy parent, part time foster-parent or even volunteering to help with fundraising events via the Essex satellite office.

“Canine Partners is a fantastic charity, opening doors to independence for disabled people and I would recommend puppy parenting to anyone.”

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Emily Lawrence is the trainer in charge of the Essex puppy satellite.

She says: “Without more puppy parents Canine Partners will be unable to train any more dogs in the Essex region. Puppy parents really are the lifeblood of the charity, and although they give their time and commitment, the rewards are fantastic when they see their young puppies go on to change the life of someone with a disability.

“Please think about joining our dedicated team of puppy parents, and make a difference in 2013.”

If you feel you could help Canine Partners by becoming a volunteer puppy parent, call Emily Lawrence on 07956 178543 or

For information on how else you can help Canine Partners such as fundraising, collecting used stamps and much more, contact 08456 580480 or visit