Sarah Vizard, 43, from Bedford, has taken on volunteer work for Canine Partners, who train assistance dogs for people with disabilities, and she says it has helped her both physically and mentally.
She found out about the charity at a fun dog show and signed up to become a voluntary foster parent – looking after puppies in training whilst their puppy parents were away.
After taking on puppy Pebble, who was chosen for the Canine Partners breeding programme, Sarah
became a brood holder so the labrador could stay with her.
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Sarah said: “I will have her through all of her litters, and look after her puppies until they are 7-8 weeks old. We have had two litters so far and whilst it can be hard work, it is such a rewarding role. Canine Partners offer all the training and support you need and it is wonderful getting to know the little bundles of fun!”
Sarah, who will soon be returning to work based from home, has seen some real benefits as a result of volunteering.
She said: “ME is a disability in its own right, often resulting in isolation. By volunteering for Canine Partners it has helped me as a person so much. I have been able to build up my exercise, get out and about into social situations and feel more confident in my abilities. “Canine Partners may be there to provide assistance dogs to people with disabilities but through working with volunteers, they can truly be of help to those people as well.”
Canine Partners is looking for more people from the Bedford area to join its Brood Bitch holder scheme. Please call Sian Evans on 01530 225943 or visit caninepartners.org.uk/broodbitchholder for further information.