Weekend Puppy Raisers

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

What is a Weekend Puppy Raiser?

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, please consider the following requirements.

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. Most Puppy Raisers travel to the correctional facility nearest to their home to pick up the puppy each weekend. Some puppies are trained on the NEADS Princeton, MA campus.

Weekend Puppy Raiser Locations

Current Correctional Facilities with Prison PUP Programs:

JJ Moran Medium, Cranston, RI
MCI Concord, Concord, MA
MCI Norfolk, Norfolk, MA
North Central Correctional Institution, Gardner, MA
Northeastern Correctional Center, Concord, MA

We also have Weekend Puppy Raiser opportunities for the dogs trained on the NEADS campus in Princeton, MA

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 5 prisons in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Some dogs are trained on the NEADS campus.

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

Ready for the next step?

Take the first step to becoming a Weekend Puppy Raiser - apply today!