This application is for both Volunteer Puppy Raisers, and Vacation Relief Volunteers to complete. We need to know much of the same information about both types of volunteer positions, as both will be caring for our pups.
Our pups are raised and trained as service dogs, not as pet dogs, therapy dogs, or emotional support dogs. Service Dogs perform tasks (the definition of a service dog under ADA) for their person to assist them in their daily living. The most frequently requested task by our applicants is to retrieve dropped items. We train our carefully selected pups to be FREE Service Dogs for people with physical disabilities other than blindness. We do not train therapy dogs, emotional support dogs, PTSD dogs, or dogs for people with autism.
What does a vacation relief person do for us? Care for the pup when their raiser is gone/needs relief – usually for 3-9 days at a time. The pup’s raiser will bring all supplies you’ll need, including the crate, food, toys, beds, leashes, harness/gentle leader, etc when they bring the pup to you. You’ll provide the care, attention, exercise, and lots of love. Our trainer will instruct you on our training protocols, so you’ll know how to follow them. We only use positive, kind, humane methods of training as it is ESSENTIAL that service dogs like and trust people. You most likely will not be asked to bring the pup in your care to a fundraising event to make a short appearance.
What does a puppy raiser do for us? To successfully raise a service dog, you will spend 1-2 hours a day caring for, exercising, training, loving, and taking them on outings to socialize them. Our training staff will work closely with you to guide you and support you. The first 6 months will be intense for you. You’ll be teaching the pup a lot, it will need frequent toilet breaks (physically can’t hold it very long), and a LOT of supervision. A puppy is high energy, and will need a fenced area where it can run to release pent up energy. If you don’t have a fenced yard, hopefully you know a neighbor or friend who will let you use their yard. Even running for 10 minutes/day yields wonders. You’ll also need to walk your pup – short walks at first, and at least a mile a day after the pup is 6 months old. You’ll train the pup in snippets several times a day, and take it on 2-3 outings each week to expand its knowledge of the world, and build its confidence. You’ll bring the pup to fundraising events to make a short appearance (you’ll be guided by our trainers on this). We’ll help you create an incredible dog, and hopefully one who will graduate. It will require true commitment, discipline, and daily effort from you! Read our blog post about becoming a volunteer puppy raiser.
Thanks for your interest and support. Volunteer Puppy Raisers and Vacation Relief people are indispensable to our mission!!!!