Weekend Puppy Raisers

Weekend Puppy Raisers open their homes to one of our amazing puppies in training on weekends for the duration of its training.

Most of our puppies are raised in correctional facilities through our Prison PUP Program. Our dogs live with inmates in Massachusetts and Rhode Island prisons Monday through Friday, but our puppies get weekend furloughs!

Volunteer Weekend Puppy Raisers take the puppies out of prison each weekend for about a year to work on house manners, socialization, and training. These weekends in a home environment ensure that our dogs get the socialization they need, like visits to the grocery store, movie theaters, the mall, restaurants, and other typical household activities. Before you apply to become a Weekend Puppy Raiser for one of our adorable, energetic puppies you may want to consider what NEADS needs from you.

Requirements include:

  • Attending training sessions at least once a month
  • Submitting weekly communications sheets in a timely manner
  • Taking the pup out of the correctional facility at least three weekends a month for about one year
  • Practicing training and socialization exercises as directed by your NEADS trainer
  • Providing adequate daily exercise as recommended by your NEADS trainer
  • Providing a safe, healthy and loving environment for the puppy

Please note: We currently only accept weekend puppy raiser applications from people who live in MA and RI. Puppy raisers will travel to the correctional facility nearest to their home to pick up the puppy each weekend (not to the NEADS Princeton, MA campus).

Current Correctional Facilities with Prison PUP Program partnerships:

FMC Devens, Ayer, Massachusetts
JJ Moran Medium, Cranston, Rhode Island
MCI Concord, Concord, MA
MCI Norfolk, Norfolk, Massachusetts
North Central Correctional Institution, Gardner, Massachusetts
Northeastern Correctional Center, Concord, Massachusetts

More About Being a Weekend Puppy Raiser

Weekend Puppy Raisers are an integral part of NEADS, and complement our weekday dog training program, which takes place in 7 prisons in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

NEADS dogs live in prison with their assigned Inmate Handler, and learn basic and advanced task work and obedience. Weekend Puppy Raisers pick up their assigned dog from the prison most weekends and socialize the NEADS dog: introduce dog to sights, sounds, and experiences that are not available in prison (for example: traffic, children, grocery stores, and sporting events).

Weekend Puppy Raisers commit to:

  • Handling, reinforcing training of, and socializing the NEADS dog according to NEADS methods and policies
  • Communicating effectively and appropriately with NEADS staff and prison staff, including the Inmate Handler
  • Taking the NEADS dog out at least 3 weekends every month, for 12-18 months (it interrupts the socialization process when NEADS dogs spend more than 2 consecutive weekends within the prison institution)
  • Completing weekly and monthly reports on the dog’s progress
  • Monthly, attending at least one class taught by the Puppy Program Assistants and electronically submitting a recent photo of the dog

Reasons why people choose to become NEADS Weekend Puppy Raisers:

  • Love our mission and the fact that they are helping someone in need
  • Enjoy having and training a dog only on the weekends: NEADS dogs fit in with busy schedules
  • Looking to join and participate in our thriving volunteer community

Weekend Puppy Raiser, Full-Time Puppy Raiser, Breeder Caretaker

Which role is right for me?

Weekend Puppy Raisers

  • Volunteers make a 12-18 month-long commitment to raising a puppy on weekends only.
  • Pick up/Drop off: Prison
  • Commitment: 3 weekends/month for 12-18 months
  • Dog: Same dog every weekend from same prison
  • Training: Maintain the obedience that the dog has learned in prison
  • Classes: 1 class/month taught by the Puppy Program Assistant
  • Socialization: 4-6 field trips per weekend, guided by NEADS socialization protocols
  • Application: Online

Full-Time Puppy Raisers

  • Volunteers make a 12-16 month long commitment to raising a puppy in their homes, full time.
  • Pick up/Drop off: N/A
  • Commitment: 14-16 months
  • Dog: Same dog 24/7
  • Training: 1 class/week; follow NEADS training and socialization protocols
  • Field Trips: 6-10 field trips out in public weekly
  • Application: Online

Breeder Caretaker

  • Volunteers host our breeder dogs in their homes, returning the dog to campus when needed for breeding and whelping.
  • Pick up/Drop off: N/A
  • Commitment: 1-3 years and then Caretaker can adopt
  • Dog: Same dog, 24/7
  • Training: Keep the NEADS dog safe and happy
  • Field Trips: NEADS dog does not have public access
  • Paperwork & Commitment: Monthly weight forms; bring NEADS dog to campus once every 3 months + when needed for breeding
  • Application: Online