An adorable puppy has grown up and is set for college to complete his training and help transform the life of a person with physical disabilities.
Utah, the chocolate labrador being supported through his training by the Rutland Support Group of the charity Canine Partners, has passed his final assessment and has now gone off to complete his next stage of training at the charity’s new training establishment in Leicestershire.
Back in September last year, the Mercury ran a story to help the group raise £5,000 needed for his first stage of training. After appearances at Rutland Day and Rutland County Show, and thanks to the generosity of Rutland residents, the charity has raised £7,500 which will help pay for his next stage.
If Utah passes this, he will become a Canine Partner assistance dog, which will enable him to help someone with physical disabilities with everyday jobs. Jobs can include helping them getting dressed, loading and unloading washing machines, and opening and closing doors.
Canine Partners fundraiser Denise Taylor has thanked Utah’s puppy parent Kathleen Hodkinson, and everyone else who has helped him in his first steps.
She said: “I am just so full of admiration for people like Kathleen, who has been Utah’s puppy parent through the first stage of his training.
“The puppy parents have the dogs for the first 12 months of their lives, and they do all the ground work, house training them, teaching them good doggie manners, getting them used to every sort of experience – things like public transport, busy shopping centres, lifts, visiting schools and doing events with us, so that the puppy becomes well behaved and calm in all situations.
“Just as they have got them to this stage, we come along and say ‘thank you ever so much’ and take the puppy off to be assessed to see whether it is going to make the grade and go on to its ‘College Years’ training.”
The Rutland Support Group is now calling for people to help raise the extra £2,500 needed for the final stage of his training.
For more information about Canine Partners, visit www.caninepartners.org.uk. To support Utah or to make a donation, call Denise on 01572 767515.