Meet the Raisers – Josie & Bruce Dow
Name: Josie & Bruce Dow
Occupation: Retired/Full-Time Puppy Raisers
Current Pup: Forrest, 10 mo
How long have you been a Puppy Raiser and how many dogs have you raised? (Include furloughed dogs and the one you are currently raising).
We have been puppy raisers since December 2019. Frasier, a black lab who has now graduated to the Canine Center was our first pup, who we had for just over a year. Winston, a yellow lab who we had for just a few short months and became a furloughed favorite in the spring of 2020. Forrest is our third pup who came to us at 8 months old in Jan 2021 from another full-time raiser.
What led you to Puppy Raising?
We had both retired in 2019 and had been volunteering with the Hospice program at the Bedford VA. One day Kevin, the NEADS Veteran’s Program Development Administrator, brought in a NEADS Service Dog and talked about the program. Being a puppy raiser seemed like it would be a good compliment to that service work. Working with service dogs was something Josie had experienced with her work before retirement and wanted to participate in raising service dogs now that we had the time.
If you had your own talk show, who would your first 3 guests be?
Three random children. They are always the most interesting.
If you had one extra hour of free time a day what would you do with it?
Interact and share time with others.
Would you rather be able to speak all foreign languages or talk to animals?
Neither. I think the way things are now is the best.
If you could visit one place in the world where would it be and why?
St. Bernard Monastery, border of Switzerland and Italy to visit the rescue dogs.
Are you a listener or a talker?
I was blessed with being both!
Tell us your favorite part about being a Puppy Raiser and/or your favorite memory with one of the NEADS pups.
Bruce: I have not yet had the experience of seeing one of our NEADS pups matched with a client, but can only imagine how special that will be. So until then, one of my favorite parts of being a puppy raiser has to be the field trips with Magen (our NEADS trainer) and other NEADS pups! Watching the pups saying hello again to one another I wonder – could they be remembering old friends from the Early Learning Center? The pups get so excited showing off their newest skills in front of each other, and people love to stop and watch them working. And who can blame them for that? It is such a treat to watch these beautiful dogs, who are so happy and well behaved. They put smiles on everyone’s faces.
Josie: Having the dogs out in public and watching them work with the public is always exciting. People have such positive reactions and interest in the dogs. There is not a day that goes by that the dogs don’t have me cracking up laughing. My favorite memories include, but not limited to the curiosity and excitement they have about every day. Being a puppy raiser has been very rewarding.