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Our History

Support  Dogs,  Registered Charity No. 1088281, was formed in 1992.

John Rogerson had visited an organisation in the USA called Top Dog, which had been set up to help disabled  owners train their own pet dogs to become safe and reliable assistants.  On his return to the UK, John teamed up  with Val Strong and Support Dogs was formed.  

Val developed the charity and in 1993 the first dogs were trained and within just a few months the dogs were making a real difference to their owners lives.

In 1995,  Support Dogs teamed up with the other Assistance dog organisations to form  Assistance Dogs UK.

Support Dogs established its National Training Centre in 1997 which was dedicated to John Fisher in recognition and honour of his outstanding contribution to the world of dogs.

John had always handled dogs as part of his professional career and during that time he developed a unique approach to dog training. This technique formed the foundation for the training methods applied by Support Dogs and undoubtedly influenced the development of the Seizure Alert Dogs Training Program.

The charity moved into it's current premises in Jessops Riverside, Sheffield in 2005 and the National Training Centre was officially opened on the 7th December that same year by our Honorary President Miss Angela Rippon OBE.

In 2007 the charity faced its biggest challenge when its National Training Centre was devastated by the flood which hit Sheffield in June that year. It took Support Dogs more than a year to recover and rebuild all of which was only possible thanks to the generous support of the public in response to a Flood Fund Disaster appeal and the support of South Yorkshire Police Dog Training Dept. who offered use of their training facilities to the charity.

In 2008, following on from a successful pilot study, Support Dogs launched a new assistance dog initiative to the UK; Autism Assistance Dogs. aimed at improving the quality of life for children with autism and their families.