Full-Time Puppy Raisers
NEADS World Class Service Dogs change lives every day, and you can be part of this life-changing story when you join NEADS as a volunteer Puppy Raiser.
What is a Full-Time Puppy Raiser?
Full-time Puppy Raisers are dedicated volunteers who take our Service Dogs in Training into their homes and look after them for 12 to 16 months, working on critical socialization and basic obedience. The dog is then moved into a prison facility to finish its Service Dog training or is chosen as a Breeder Dog.
As a Full-Time Puppy Raiser:
- You attend regular training sessions with a NEADS trainer, both on and off campus.
- You care for the NEADS dog 24/7, providing a safe, healthy, and loving environment.
- You practice training and socialization exercises, as well as daily exercise, as directed by the NEADS trainer.
- You receive a "Service Dog in Training" vest for the puppy to wear, as well as all food, veterinary care, and flea, tick, and heartworm medications for the duration of the dog's training, at no cost.
Who Makes a Good Full-Time Puppy Raiser?
The ideal candidate is just about anyone who is able to devote the time, energy, and love necessary to successfully socialize and train a NEADS Service Dog in Training We are looking for young families, couples, retirees, and individuals.
Are You Ready?
Before you apply to become a Full-Time Puppy Raiser for one of our adorable, energetic puppies, it's helpful to understand what we need from you. If you can answer "yes" to these questions, then please consider applying!
- Are you physically able to manage a young and energetic dog?
- Are you able to attend weekly training sessions with NEADS trainers?
- Are you available to socialize* a puppy every day under NEADS guidelines?
- If you have any other pets at home, are they happy, relaxed and friendly towards people and other animals?
- Are you prepared to handle the puppy and teach them crate training, house training, and other appropriate behaviors in the home?
- If you would like to take the NEADS dog with you to your office, do you have your company's and NEADS' approval?
** Socializing consists of following NEADS outlined field trip levels which expose the dog to everyday life in public. For example libraries, malls, grocery stores, crowds, meeting all different kinds of people, etc.
Steps to Becoming a Full-Time Puppy Raiser
- Submit an online application
- If it's a good fit, attend an orientation
- Schedule a home visit with NEADS staff
- Receive the NEADS Service Dog in Training
Learn more about Raising a Puppy for NEADS
Meeting Benson, NEADS Service Dog in Training
If you’ve attended Sunday Services [at First Parish in Wayland, MA] recently in person, you may have met Benson, a handsome NEADS Service Dog in Training. He is accompanied by Luke Rubin, who, along with his wife, Megan, are Benson’s Puppy Raisers…
A Story about Parting Ways with the Dog You Just Raised
For Puppy Raiser Ed Nobrega, the hardest part early on (Fritz, weekend dog; Judy, weekend dog then full-time for 4 months (Phoenix beta)) when letting the dog go was not knowing whether the dog would make the cut after completing training and wondering what would happen to the dog….
More than Just Loving a Dog
Because we see ourselves as dog lovers, we fall in love with the NEADS dog instead of with the work we do. The secret to letting go of the dog is to fall in love with the work, fall in love with the reasons for raising the dog in the first place. Being a dog raiser asks you to rise above average, to turn that love of dogs into a gift that you give away instead of keeping it for yourself.
The Places They Go
One of the most important jobs a Puppy Raiser has is to help the NEADS dogs feel comfortable in many different situations, around many people. They do this by making sure they have plenty of real-world exposure to different sights, sounds, and people.
But what does that look like day to day? Dana, who has raised two puppies for NEADS and is currently raising her third puppy, shares a few highlights of her puppy raising experience with the two pups she’s raised. What a journey!