Volunteers needed as Assistance Dogs Australia heads west

More volunteers are needed to look after Assistance Dogs.
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Ahead of their move to a brand new training centre at Orchard Hills in March, Assistance Dogs Australia is on the lookout for new local volunteers to help them care for their life-saving dogs.

Assistance Dogs Australia is a national charity that provides highly trained, accredited Assistance Dogs to people with physical disabilities, PTSD and autism. After almost 28 years in Waterfall, they’re making a move to Orchard Hills, where they’re needing a few extra sets of hands to help make miracles happen.

Jessica Baker has been volunteering with the organisation for the past six months and, living in Caddens, she can’t wait for them to make the move to Penrith.

Baker is a Puppy Educator, meaning she has her dog, Christie, on a full-time basis, and may be doing so for up to a year.

In this time, Baker said she couldn’t have had a better experience as a volunteer.

“It’s very rewarding, teaching a dog to do things, involving them as a part of your life, taking them out in the community and teaching them about Assistance Dogs Australia, and service dogs in general as well,” she said.

“I also really enjoy having her be a part of my family and everyday activities. It’s just nice to have a companion all the time with me.”

However, Baker started with the organisation as a BnBer – a short-term carer who has dogs in Advanced Training from Friday afternoon to Monday morning, when they’re not at the National Training Centre during the week.

They can also provide short-term care to younger dogs whose full-time carers are temporarily unavailable, such as during holiday periods.
These are the types of volunteers that Assistance Dogs Australia is looking for in particular.

“BnBers are short-term stays for a couple of days whilst the dogs would get breaks from training, whereas I have Christie with me all the time at the moment,” Baker said.

With all costs covered by Assistance Dogs Australia, Baker said that volunteering is the perfect way to have a dog for a limited period, whilst also giving back to the community.

“I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s got some spare time available,” she said.

“I know not many people do have spare time in today’s day and age, but definitely if they’ve got weekends free in particular, or if they feel that they could involve a dog within their lives for a weekend, then I’d definitely highly encourage it. It’s very rewarding.”

For more information, visit www.assistancedogs.org.au.

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