Perfect puppy in Bolney to care for the disabled

A kennels in Bolney is breeding perfect puppies which will be trained to care for those with disabilities.

Thursday, 22nd May 2014, 11:04 am
The puppies are bred at Wolstonbury Kennels. Pic Steve Robards SUS-140517-163619001

Wolstonbury Kennels on Cowfold Road has supplied 25 pups to Dogs for the Disabled.

The kennels’ owner, Michelle Steer, said: “For people with disabilities or those that have suffered with terrible depression the world opens up.”

After being brought up at the kennels the chocolate labradors are trained to suit the owner’s needs.

Owner of Wolstonbury Kennels Michelle Steer and Becci Hodge from Dogs for the Disabled. Pic Steve Robards SUS-140517-163745001

“I’ve heard they can load washing, post a letter, put shopping into trolleys, pull a duvet over their owner, press a pedestrian crossing, put a bank card in a machine, open and shut doors,” Michelle explained.

“It makes them safe and gives them independence, one girl, Demi, would never use public transport before but now she can.”

“If Demi falls then Bumble presses an alarm, or he can pick up her tablets.”

Dog supply coordinator Becci Hodge came to chose a new dog to train on May 15.

One of Wolstonbury Kennels' former puppies, Bumble, and owner Demi

She said: “I look for confidence, if they’re cuddly, whether or not they just disappear or if they’re an over confident little monkey.

“Then they’re generally ready near the age of two.”

Becci explained the dogs can help with tasks that involve pushing or pulling, and can activate pull chords.

“I went to see a young girl with cerebral palsy who used to be incredibly grumpy, she didn’t even go to school.

“Now when she gets home she says ‘yay let’s take the dog for a walk’, Her mum said she used to be horrible and now she’s different and all she wants to do is take her dog for a walk.”

The kennels have never had a puppy fail, which the owner puts down to their good health and the environment they spend the first weeks of their lives in.

Michelle continued: “We want them to be physically strong, have sound hips and a good structure and temperament.

“We teach them that life is not scary, they have ping pong balls to play with, lots of stimulation, lots of handling, they start life positively.

“If you tell them off the pups shy back, you need to act as if it’s the best thing ever if they wee on the newspaper,” she added.

Once the dogs retire Michelle sends the dogs to a friend with a home for dogs in France. “It’s a nice life for them. They don’t want to be in a kennel when they’re old they want to be sat in front of the TV,” Michelle said. “One dog I had was almost totally grey, but I thought I would let her off because she was 108 in dog years.”