A CHARITY new to the borough is appealing to dog-lovers to help them raise puppies who are trained to help disabled people.
Dogs for the Disabled will open its first North West centre later this month in Atherton and is searching for 30 volunteers to become puppy socialisers.
The role includes taking care of a puppy - with support from the charity - teaching it basic commands and introducing it to locations such as supermarkets, stations and hospitals.
North West coordinator Jessica Hardiman said: “Socialisers take on puppies for the first 12 to 14 months of their life.
“Our dogs help people who are physically or mentally disadvantaged in a variety ways.
“For example they can help with chores, take washing out of the machine, turn lights off, as well as acting as guides.
“We run fun events throughout the year for our socialisers - it becomes a friendly community - and we do help them stay in touch with their puppy once it has been matched up with an owner.”
The charity is holding a Puppy Socialiser Demonstration day at 11am on Tuesday January 21 at the centre on Gibfield Park Avenue.
Members of the public are invited to attend to find out more about the volunteer role and what the charity does matching and placing their dogs.
Jessica added: “Volunteers are given support throughout their time as socialisers as well as help with food and vets bills.
“You get all the joys of raising a little puppy and the satisfaction that it will go on to make such a major difference in someone’s life.”
Dogs for the Disabled was established in 1988 and is based in Oxfordshire. Atherton will be its third regional office as well as Bristol and Nostell, near Wakefield.
More than 650 assistance dogs have been trained by the charity, which has to raise £12,000 to fund each dog from birth to fully trained status and a further £20,000 to fund it during its working life.
For more information visit www.dogsforthedisabled.org