Raise a Puppy, Change a Life

Marcy (1)

NEADS is seeking volunteers to raise its puppies on a full-time basis. The Full-time Puppy Raisers will 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. When fully trained and matured, these Service Dogs go on to work with someone with a physical disability or hearing loss, a child with autism, or a veteran. Others become Assistance Dogs who work with professionals in hospital, classroom, and courthouse settings.

The full-time Puppy Raiser will teach the dog basic obedience and socialize them in the community so they’re used to anything and everything – different types of surfaces, different types of buildings, different people – and set them up to be confident in any public situation.

“We provide support and resources for our full-time puppy raisers,” said Kate Sullivan, Volunteer Manager. “We equip them with food, training classes and field trips, educational materials, and equipment like a leash, collar, and gentle leader. We are also here with 24-7 medical and staff support.”

NEADS dogs go to the puppy raisers’ homes and start their training at about eight weeks of age. After 12 to 16 months, the dogs are moved into a prison facility to finish their Service Dog training or are chosen as a breeder dog.

Prospective volunteers should consider some important factors before applying. First, the dog cannot be left alone as a young puppy. As the puppy gets older, the time they are left alone can gradually increase to a maximum of 3-4 hours. The NEADS dog may go to work with you, with approval from your company and NEADS.

Other requirements include attending 1-2 weekly training sessions with a NEADS trainer, which take place both on and off the NEADS campus; caring for the NEADS dog 24/7; submitting weekly progress reports; practicing training and socialization exercises as directed by the NEADS trainer; and providing adequate daily exercise as recommended by the NEADS trainer.

Interested volunteers can start the application process here