Three dogs training for life assisting people with dementia are in need of companions to look after them in Dundee and the surrounding area.
The Dementia Dog Project, which is based at HMP Castle Huntly in Longforgan, is seeking local “temporary boarders” offering their latest arrivals Lenny, Hope and Billy a home as and when required.
The pooches – two of which are black labs and another a labrador-retriever cross – need looked after on weekends and weekdays across a four-month period as they undergo their advanced training at the site.
They are being trained for life as dementia assistance dogs, catering for people living with the debilitating disease.
The animals will learns to carry out an array of tasks from opening doors, to helping remove articles of clothing and even retrieving medication for people.
Volunteers for the “back up cover” will ideally be retired or work part time so as not to leave the animals on their own for more than four hours at a time, and have a fenced garden. They will need to be able to pick up and drop off the dogs from Longforgan.
Dementia Dog Project manager Fiona Corner said: “We are looking for volunteers who could be temporary boarders, so basically what we mean by that is people who can look after the dogs when they are not doing 9-5 training.
“What we are looking for ideally is someone who is local to Dundee or Longforgan, who has a fenced garden.
“Someone who is retired or works part time so that we don’t leave dogs for longer than four hour, and is able to drop off dogs in the morning and pick them up Castle Huntly.
“We anticipate the maximum length of time that a temporary boarder would have a dog would be for a four month period. This would be for weekends, evenings and days when occasionally required.
“As a volunteer you will be making an incredible and lasting contribution to enable these dogs to qualify as dementia assistance dogs and help transform lives of people in our communities who are living with dementia.
“They’ll be joining a team of people and become part of the team, and they’ll learn quite a lot about dogs as well.”
Boarders may also be called upon for periods of full-time support of between one and two weeks during the Christmas holidays.
The canines will undergo their training with the help of inmates at the prison, who have been preparing for life back in the outside world by helping equip the dogs for life with dementia sufferers.
The canines have recently completed their basic training at Dogs for Good in Oxfordshire.
One of them, Billy, will go on to become the project’s first “dementia community dog” – helping “hundreds of people”.
The Dementia Dog team provide support and training, and will meet all dog food, veterinary and equipment costs during the dog’s stay.
Anyone interested in becoming a boarder for the project should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07876 848022.