IT has been more than 12 months since Janet Nolan first started working with a gangly young pup rescued from an animal shelter in the hope of grooming it to become an assistance dog.
Dooley is now two years of age and, although he still exhibits some excitable puppy traits, Ms Nolan feels he is ready to take the next step and be paired with a human partner.
“I’m really happy with his progress,” Ms Nolan said.
“He’s intelligent and he learns quickly.”
Ms Nolan has taught Dooley to pick up dropped items, take things to and from a person, open and close drawers and cupboards, help people dress and undress, carry items, remove foot wear, and turn lights on and off.
He can also alert a person to a knock at the door, indicate when a baby is crying or when a smoke alarm is activated.
“The training has been focused on preparing him for a person with a physical disability or hearing impairment,” Ms Nolan said.
“Anything he has been trained for we will still need to take to the next step. That means Dooley and I spending a significant amount of time in the person’s home training him in necessary tasks.”
Dooley will not have public access like a guide dog, but will still be able to assist a person when they are at home or walking down the street.
“It’s a long term commitment for both Dooley and the person he eventually ends up with,” Ms Nolan said.
“I’ve set up a fairly stringent application process because I owe Dooley that as much as I owe it to the person he ends up with.”
Ms Nolan has written to various medical practitioners and service providers in Gloucester seeking suitable applicants.
Anyone that thinks they may be suitable to apply can contact Janet Nolan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 6558 8287.