Charity supporters raise £14,000 to buy puppies for disabled people in Milton Keynes

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The Milton Keynes group, which has 20 members, has raised a whopping £14,390 for the charity during the Covid crisis over the past year..

This will be used to buy 14 life-changing puppies to be trained as part of the charity’s assistance dog service.

Yasmin Smyth, who is 62, runs the Milton Keynes fundraising group. She has also been a puppy socialiser for Dogs for Good for over 16 years and recently trained her tenth puppy.

Yasmin with a Dogs for Good puppy

She said: “We work hard every year organising loads of different kinds of events. When the pandemic hit we didn’t think it would go on for so long but when we got to May last year and realised we would have to cancel everything we started to get a bit worried/

“Without face-to-face events and collections we had to find new ways to raise money, so we just thought we’ll do what we can online and organised dog shows, auctions and raffles.”

Yasmin added: “It’s been amazing to see how generous people have been, they’ve given us extra donations.

Our reward is seeing the puppies going on to be trained and transform the lives of people with disabilities and their families lives.

“Watching them work when they leave and seeing the bond between them and their client is brilliant.”

The Milton Keynes group’s tireless efforts last year spanned a variety of fundraising activities, including online dog shows which have been really popular, hamper raffles, online auctions and fundraising through Facebook. Milton Keynes Rotary also did a Swimathon to raise money for the charity and Milton Keynes Amateur Operatic Society (MKAOS) donated money from a raffle they held at their 2019/2020’s pantomime.

The money raised will purchase 14 puppies for their assistance dog scheme, help cover the insurance costs for the dogs and go towards the charity’s annual vets fees.

Dogs for Good’s fundraising manager, Stephanie Lawless, said: “Our volunteer Supporter Groups have always been incredibly dedicated to the charity and have repeatedly gone above and beyond to raise funds for Dogs for Good.

“Faced with the pandemic their innovation and creativity in both creating online fundraising opportunities and also physically crafting items to sell or raffle, has been just amazing.

“The usual fundraising activities – collections in supermarkets, charity tables at events and talks, were all cancelled from February/March last year and of course are still cancelled now.

“Yet our group members have raised this incredible amount of money during a year of so many challenges, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

In the past 21 years, Dogs for Good Supporter Groups nationwide have raised over £1.7 million; helping to train more dogs that go onto help people with disabilities overcome specific challenges and enrich and improve lives and communities.

Dogs for Good’s assistance dogs support adults and children with a range of disabilities and also children with autism, providing practical support, increasing confidence and enabling greater independence. It also trains activity and therapy dogs to work with specialist handlers in communities and schools and its Family Dog team also gives specialist advice and support to help people get the most out of their relationship with their pet dog.

Dogs for Good offers three core services: Assistance Dog, Community Dog and Family Dog Each service has been specifically designed to offer the best help to adults and children with a range of physical disabilities, autism, dementia and learning disabilities through the help of an expertly-trained dog

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