Locals are being asked to open their doors to three amazing canines as they begin their lives assisting people living with a debilitating condition.
Boarders in Dundee and the surrounding area are being called upon to offer temporary homes to the Dementia Dog Project’s newest four-legged recruits for three to four months as they are trained.
The pooches will require a loving home while they learn to become assistance dogs for dementia sufferers at the charity’s base at HMP Castle Huntly in Longforgan.
The canines will arrive in Tayside from Dogs for Good in October, and will be specially trained to carry out an impressive array of tasks for their future companions – from opening doors to helping remove articles of clothing and even retrieving medication.
The project is seeking people who are retired, work from home or spend most of their time at home, and can commit to driving the dogs to a local drop-off point four or five days a week. They must also have a fenced garden.
Dementia Dog Project workers can also pick up the animals from the homes of volunteers if needs be.
They are expected to be integrated into the family of a dementia sufferer in January or February.
Dementia Dog Project manager Fiona Corner said it is an opportunity for people to help make a “real life-changing difference” in the lives of people living with dementia.
She said: “We are looking for volunteers who could board dogs on evenings and weekends, local to the Dundee area and surrounding communities, while they go through three to four months of full-time training.
“The types of volunteers we’re looking for are people at home full-time, who might be retired or out of work or work from home.
“We are selecting the dogs next week, they will be lab-retriever types, three lovely dogs. They’ll come up to us at about one-and-a-half years old as already really well-trained dogs, doing their final training to become dementia assistance dogs.
“These dogs come to the volunteers really well trained, we cover all the cost, we provide support.”
She added: “It is more than looking after dog for a couple of months, it is an opportunity to learn more about the programme and what we do with training the dogs. There is all kinds of benefits to it.
“These dogs are going to go on and make a real, real life-changing difference and that can’t happen without the contribution of amazing volunteers in the community.
“These are really friendly dogs, they are great with children, great with other dogs, just really easy to look after.”
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.
Ms Corner added: “It (the project) is going really well. Off the back of having been there a good year and a half, we have now got guys who have been working with us eight months or so and have really built their skills up.
“They’ll be mentoring the next students through the dog training programme.”