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VETS FUNDRAISING EFFORT BOOSTS HOUNDS FOR HEROES CAUSE

Hounds for Heroes has just received a donation from the Vets4Pets Support Office following a series of fundraising activities. A total of £8,283.23 was donated, which means the charity can now complete the funding of yet another dog to be trained to help one of over 900.00 injured armed forces and civilian emergency services personnel. The money was raised through a series of events including a cycle relay race, a climb up Snowdon, car boot sales and cooking colleague’s breakfasts. Allen Parton, vice chairman and founder of Hounds for Heroes, said: “We’re grateful for all donations and it’s immensely humbling  to see Vets4Pets supporting our charity with such a significant donation. “It costs about £25,000 to train and care for a dog throughout it’s 10 years lifetime service with Hounds for Heroes. “The money covers all expenses, including food, veterinary support, insurance and accommodation, from the time it is eight weeks old, through its two years of training, and through the following eight years it will be with its human partner. “We pay for all the costs during the time a dog is with us and the client because we don’t want a young service person who has a partner and children to be worrying about the cost of dog food, insurance or even a vet’s bills. “This donation means we’ve now raised enough money to complete the funding and provide another dog for the programme.”

As well as performing routine tasks such as opening the door, a range of emergency responses and getting money from a ATM, the Labradors and golden retrievers provide companionship and support for service personnel seriously hurt in Afghanistan, and other conflicts such as the Falklands, Northern Ireland, along with civilian emergency services who find themselves injured and unable to work. “We’ve placed eight dogs since the first one ‘graduated’ from two years of training in 2013, and now we’re able to starting recruiting for the fifth squadron of puppies,” added Allen. “Each set of four dogs we train is called a squadron and dogs in the fourth of these will graduate in early 2017, providing support for another two people. “For the first 14 months of training each dog lives with a family local to our base in Hampshire and receives training at the training centre once a week and one on one training as required in the home “When they are about 14 months old they come to us full-time and have intensive training Monday to Friday, before going to a local family (bed and breakfast homes) at weekends for a break and socialising in different scenarios. “Then, when fully trained at about two years old, a dog will be partnered with its new owner.”

Vets4Pets’ Support Office provides a range of services, from marketing to finance, to support its 388 veterinary practices across the UK and voted for Hounds for Heroes to be its chosen charity for the last year. Sally Hopson, CEO of the Pets at Home Vet Group, said: “Hounds for Heroes is a fantastic charity and our colleagues in the Support Office have been very active over the last year to raise funds. “We’re delighted to see the levels of success Allen and the team have achieved in providing dogs to support people in need. “At Vets4Pets we’re very supportive of any charity work carried out by colleagues across the group and it’s very pleasing to see the money is going to help train the fifth set of support dogs.“The list of activities that raised funds for Hounds for Heroes has been very interesting, with the Support Office’s sports day a particular highlight. “We wish Allen and the rest of the Hounds for Heroes team even more success in the future.”