Sketch the Labrador puppy has a big future.
The adorable 16-week-old is all clumsy paws and waggly tail now, but one day he will mean the world to a person with a physical disability.
For the past two months he has lived in Woonona with Assistance Dogs Australia volunteer puppy sitters Jaimee-Lee and Ben Starr, undergoing socialisation training and learning basic skills like sitting and walking on a lead.
Sketch has been a regular sight around the suburb, trotting alongside his temporary parents in an eye-catching blue and red uniform while taking in the outside world and all its distractions.
‘‘We’re pretty much exposing him to as much of normality as possible so that nothing freaks him out,’’ Mrs Starr said.
Today the Starrs will farewell Sketch, who will head to Brisbane for the next step in his training.
He will eventually learn a raft of other skills, such as fetching the phone, getting clothes out of a washing machine and even when to bark for help.
Although it will be sad to see him go, Mrs Starr said she knew Sketch would be adored by his future permanent owner.
‘‘He is going to change someone’s life,’’ she said.
Next month Assistance Dogs Australia will celebrate Dogtober to raise money for the training of dogs like Sketch.
For more information visit www.dogtober.org.au.