Our History

Support Dogs was founded in 1992 by John Rogerson and Val Strong and was based on similar organisations operating in the USA. By 1993 our first dogs were trained and already making a real difference to their owners’ lives.

In 1995, Support Dogs teamed up with the other Assistance Dog organisations, including Guide Dogs for the Blind and Hearing Dogs, to form Assistance Dogs UK.

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

John’s unique approach to dog training formed the foundation of the training methods applied by Support Dogs and undoubtedly influenced the development of the Seizure Alert Dogs Training Program.

The charity moved into its current premises in Jessops Riverside, Sheffield in 2005 and was officially opened 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.