Hi, a number of people have asked us if we will get the dog once the money is raised. The answer is no, not immediately, unfortunately. This is because the pup has first to be trained. That said, we are now going with another organisation (not Smart Pups as we originally were approved for) that will allow us to access the pup earlier. So, the process is as follows:
> Fundraise… and meanwhile pup’s parents are busy producing the pup for us.
> If all goes well with the ‘honeymooning’ of the parents, a litter is born in late November/early December 2014.
> Pups stay with mom for the first 8 weeks. We will go to breeder with Dave, our appointed dog trainer, to select a suitable pup for Zoe.
> Selected pup will board with Dave, where he/she will complete puppy and basic training. Zoe will visit pup whenever possible.
> Once pup completes/passes basic training, he/she will live with us on weekends so that the bonding process can commence, and live with Dave during the week while going through its Control, Advanced, and Public-Access training.
> Dave will continue training the pup till he/she passes Public Access certification before the Assistance Dog is placed permanently with us. It is estimated that the dog will be about 16-20 months when this happens – depending on how quickly the dog takes on its training/duties.
> The Assistance Dog will require on-going training to keep up its skills to meet the re-certification process every two years!
If we had gone with Smart Pups, we would get the Assistance Dog sooner (ie. at about 12-14 months of age), but Zoe would not have access to it till that time. It was quite a decision to make, and we finally decided that the earlier access and bonding were critical for Zoe.
If anyone’s got any other questions, do feel free to post a comment or contact us!