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Who is Woofability?
We are a locally based organisations training assistance dogs for disabled people in Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire and Surrey.
How many dogs do we train?
Studies show that 70-80,000 people in the UK could benefit from using an assistance dog, of which 3,500 are within our area of operation. Our aim is to train 20 dogs per year so we will eventually have 200 dogs in the community.
How long does it take to train a dog?
It takes a total of about three years to train a dog fully. We select puppies with the right temperament at 6 weeks old, they are socialised by our team of volunteer socialisers who teach them good manners and get them used to the sights and sounds they are likely to encounter during their day to day work. When they are about 18 months old, they come back to us for their final training which lasts about 6 months; they are then ready to join a disabled person who will work with them for the next 10 years.
How much does it cost to train a dog?
It costs £14,000 to buy and train a puppy for the first two years; we then support the partnerships with regular visits and back up for 10 years which costs a further £6,000. Because we are a local organisation staffed mainly by volunteers and with very low overheads, the costs involved in training and supporting our partnerships are much much lower than the national charities. We receive no government funding and all costs have to be paid for through local fundraising and donations.
What do assistance dogs do?
These special dogs do many tasks to help their disabled partner including emptying the washing machine, picking up the post, getting the telephone, helping to dress and undress, taking a purse to the till, pressing a button at traffic lights but by far the most important benefit is giving confidence to become more independent which leads to re-integration into society. Our dogs really do change lives for the better.
How can I help?
We have a Puppy Sponsorship Scheme which means that you can help to pay for us to train a new recruit for as little as £3 per month, if you would like to become more involved, we are always pleased to appoint new puppy socialisers who look after our dogs for up to a month at a time or you could help us by fundraising your own event such as a marathon or garden party, or helping with one which we are organising, perhaps you could also consider leaving a gift in your will to train a dog in your memory and transform the life of a disabled person in your area.