Volunteer with Canine Concern

An hour or so of your time means so much to others, so why don’t you join us as a valued volunteer?

We welcome and encourage dogs of all breeds, crossbreeds, shapes and sizes. The all important factor is the dog’s temperament, which we will assess for before you can become a member. Care dogs should be friendly and outgoing, highly obedient and calm, healthy and well-groomed – and love to be fussed.

Providing your dog is found to be suitable, you will be welcomed into our team of volunteers. We will try to find an experienced local member who can accompany you on your first visit if you wish. The places allocated your visit/s will be within a reasonable distance of where you live and can be chosen either by yourselves or with help from head office, from our list. The important thing is for it to be a place you and your dog will enjoy visiting.

All of our volunteers matter to us and we thank you for the support that you give our charity.

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Please note 

Our membership processing time is 21 working days, however the majority of our new memberships are processed sooner, but this depends on assessments being readily available in your area.

The Trustees have decided that our membership will be restricted to a maximum of 1,000 members, which we are rapidly approaching. We have no wish to be oversized and want to be able to remain a friendly, personal organisation so once we have reached our target level, we will form a waiting list for membership.

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The assessment process

The following details provide guidance of the assessment process so you can judge if your dog is suitable. The list is not exclusive, but works as a guide. All our assessors are aware that you are probably nervous and anxious, which will also be felt by your dog, who is also excited to see new places and people. They are experienced enough to look past these emotions and reactions as long as they improve as the assessment progresses.

The assessment will take place in a public area, where the assessor can initially see you in a quiet one-to-one situation to check your dog is happy to be touched, before moving on to general public interaction. It will take about 30-40 minutes and the time will probably fly by – some people have said they didn’t realise the assessment had actually started.

Some issues which may be noted during the assessment process include:

This can damage an older person’s thin skin, or even knock people over. It also shows lack of control of the dog. This is one of the main reasons a dog is referred and not passed first time.

We all have asked our dog to give a paw when offering a treat, however, for this work it is not acceptable. Again, it can catch the thin skin of a fragile person which might not heal quickly.

If a dog pulls their owner, they could pull someone over, especially dangerous when going through doors or down stairs. It also shows lack of control. We also recommend a collar and lead rather than a harness, however, if it is for medical or other acceptable reasons, we will accept a harness. An extending lead is also not advisable as they can malfunction, leading to a possible accident. We DO NOT accept choke chains.

If the assessor finds the dog does not want to be fussed then a referral will be necessary to get the dog more used to intense fuss. It can be hard for a dog to negotiate around zimmer frames and tables as well as the tight spaces between people. If a dog struggles with space, the owner can ask if it is okay to move such items to give more space, remembering to make sure they put them back again at the end of the visit.

This is an inhibited bite, so is unacceptable, again due to possible injury to thin skin, or even the possibility of increasing to a bite.

Many charities would say a definite no to licking, however, we say yes, as long as you carry hand wipes or wash to clean the hands afterwards. For some people it is a comfort to be licked, however, their immune systems might be weak and they can become poorly.

The dog must be gentle when taking food from the assessor. If any teeth are felt, then the result will be a referral so that the owner can train the dog to be gentle. Be aware some people will wave food around, and might even eat it themselves, so the dog must not snatch food. However, it might drool at the mere thought of the food – if so it must be wiped up.

This can show a dog is not at ease with the situation. However, sometimes, you and your dog might simply be nervous the first time around, and another time all might be fine.

We do hope the assessment process is not too traumatic for you and your dog, but it is essential for you both to be completely comfortable with this work. We care for people as well as dogs, so need to be sure you and your dog will be happy with us.

For more information please visit our FAQs page where you will find more in-depth answers to many questions you may have.