Hounds for Heroes update: Assistance dog bunker enters advanced training
At Petplan we are extremely proud of our work with Hounds for Heroes – and we love catching up with them to hear all about the great work they do by providing specially trained assistance dogs to disabled men and women of the UK armed forces and emergency services.
For the past year we’ve been following the progress of Bunker – one of their trainee assistance dogs – as he gets ready to become fully qualified and make a big difference to someone’s life.
However, things haven’t been going quite to plan over the past couple of months, as Hounds for Heroes founder, Allen Parton, explains…
“This has been a particularly bad summer for people who suffer from allergies and it’s been exactly the same for Bunker," said Allen.
“He started showing signs of having allergies and, as the health of our dogs is our number one priority, we kept a close eye on him. He eventually started to itch his coat and we found some blotches on him. So after consulting our vet we decided to give him a good period of rest and relaxation.
“Whilst we were concerned, we were never worried and, after removing him from areas where allergies could be triggered and changing his diet, he soon improved.
“We’ve been reintroducing him back gradually and he’s now in great health to resume his advanced training – including our residential training course which will take place in the coming weeks.
“The residential training course is a vital step for all trainee assistance dogs as they are placed with a potential partner and assessed to see if they are a good fit.
“We will go through our matching process – often it’s the dog that chooses their partner rather than the other way around – and then, hopefully, we can place Bunker with someone perfectly suited to him.
“We’re hoping to place three dogs at the end of September which is a very big deal for such a small charity, so we’re all very excited at the moment.
“However, we don’t just hand the dog over and forget about them or their partner. We visit every week for the first month to see how things are progressing and to do things like weigh the dog and check their general health. If all is well after four weeks we cut back the visits to one a month.
“It’s been a tricky couple of months for Bunker but, while there’s no guarantee he will be placed with someone, hopefully the summer will end with him being placed and making a huge difference to the life of a disabled service person.”