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Sheffield Support Dog centre needs "puppy walkers" to carry on

Molly with her owner Pat Williams Photo: ITV Calendar

A centre in Sheffield which provides support dogs for people with disabilities needs more people to care for its puppies to help it carry on.

Sheffield Support Dogs needs volunteers to take their puppies home for a few months to walk and socialise them - before they get intensive training for detecting seizures or helping with household chores.

Karen and Bernie Jones have been foster carers for Sheffield Support Dogs for three years. The centre have been offered two guide dog puppies - but they'll have to turn them down if they don't get what they call "puppy walkers" - who take an eight week-old puppy home to walk and socialise it for the first few months.

Karen said: "They don't have enough staff to take on a puppy they do need a lot more volunteers, to actually help them carry on. The work the dogs do is absolutely fantastic. You can't even begin to imagine."

One person who knows what it's like to have her life transformed by a support dog is Pat Williams from Sheffield, who has multiple sclerosis.

She said: "She's a wonderful, wonderful companion but with all the additional training she's had and all the jobs she can do for me, she just makes life wonderful really."

Rita Howson, director of Sheffield Support Dogs, said: "If we didn't get the puppy walkers we wouldn't be able to take the puppies on - it would mean we wouldn't be able to help two more partnerships be it children or people like Pat. They wouldn't get the opportunity to have their lives transformed."

Working with the scheme, you get all food and vets fees paid. And don't worry about handing the dog over - when you do - there'll be another one waiting.

For more information visit www.support-dogs.org.uk

Video: puppy walkers needed