The charity said puppy foster carers are urgently needed in the general Munster area.
The organisation helps to transform the lives of children with autism and their families, by providing highly-trained ‘task-specific’ assistance dogs.
According to AADI CEO Nuala Geraghty, no experience is required, but time is needed to socialise the puppy in different environments.
“Every puppy is reared and socialised by a loving volunteer puppy foster family for the first 12 to 15 months of their training journey,” Nuala said.
“This is a vital role to our service providing a solid foundation for our puppies before their formal training.”
AADI wants people who have time to care for, feed, and train a puppy under the guidance of a supervisor. “Time is probably the biggest thing you give towards the puppy,” Nuala said.
“All the pups are brought up in the home and need to be house trained and socialised in lots of different environments. Its is a big commitment but is very rewarding. The more they see and do as a young puppy the better they will be in later life as an assistance dog.”
The puppy can’t be left alone for more than two hours and the home must have a secure enclosed garden. The foster puppy parent must also have access to a car in case of an emergency. All costs are covered by the charity.
“You learn lots of new skills as you will meet with our puppy supervisor Eadaoin and attend puppy classes, you will meet lots of other volunteers doing the same role and be involved with the charity, and in turn helping a family with a child with autism to have a new lease of life,” Nuala said.
“Without our dedicated volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to run the charity. It takes two years and €22,000 to train a dog for a child and the first year of this is done by our amazing volunteers.”