Putnam Service Dogs is looking for volunteers to help raise its next class of puppies so it can continue to provide free service dogs to those in need.
Putnam Service Dogs adopts mixed-breed Labrador, golden retriever, and German Shepherd puppies from rescue organizations. Volunteer puppy raisers are taught how to socialize these puppies to new situations and people, train them, and nurture them in order to build trusting, loving dogs.
Must love dogs and have a desire to learn more about them
Must be a hard worker who is dedicated to helping others
Must be able to physically exercise an energetic puppy by walking one mile per day by six months, as well as run the puppy daily for 5-10 minutes in a safe place
Volunteer puppy raiser program:
Volunteer puppy raisers learn how to train their puppies to achieve a high level of obedience and beginning service dog commands.
Puppy raisers must attend classes, led by professional trainers, once a week for the first six months and monthly after that, with daily training and weekly socializing at home. There are 3-4 puppy raisers per class so the puppies learn to work under distraction. Class dates are determined after polling the class members for what works with their schedules.
Formal training begins at about 16 months of age, when puppies are taken over by trainers. They'll be taught the specific tasks they'll use to help the recipient they've been matched to, such as retrieving dropped items, assisting with dressing, turning lights on and off, and opening and closing drawers and doors. Volunteer puppy raisers are expected to continue caring for the puppy until it is placed with the recipient at 22-24 months of age, and to maintain its obedience skills (15 minutes daily) as well as exercising the puppy, and socializing it some (under direction from trainers).
Not every puppy will graduate and will need to be released from the program. If a puppy is released within six months, its volunteer raiser may adopt it for a fee of $550. If the puppy is released after six months, its volunteer raiser may adopt it for free. If the puppy raiser does not want to adopt their puppy if they've been released, Putnam Service Dogs will carefully adopt it out.
Volunteers raise and socialize our puppies in their homes for approximately 12-16 months. They take them out to many different places and teach them basic commands and manners. Providing our dogs with these experiences helps give them a solid foundation and prepares them for the next phase of their service dog training.
There is no experience necessary
Training is available
Volunteers are needed to foster our service dogs while they are in training.
Once our dogs are between 14-18 months old and begin training with a professional BluePath trainer, they are fostered in the homes of volunteers. Three to Four times a week the foster must drop the dog off in Hopewell Junction in the morning and pick up in the late afternoon. This allows all of our dogs to live in homes and not in kennels.
Dogs remain with the foster until placement as a BluePath service dog.
No experience required
Training is available
If you are not able to be a Puppy Raiser or Foster, but would like to help with one of our dogs, you can become a Sitter.
Volunteer Sitters take our dogs into their homes for short periods of time to look after them when Raisers and Fosters are unavailable.
No experience necessary
Training is available
The senior care center needs gentle and well-behaved animals of any kind (and their owners) to be pet visitors. Pet visitors are scheduled for an hour to an hour-and-a-half on any day of the week to visit with residents. The residents enjoy visiting and playing with the pet, often reminiscing about having a pet of their own.
On the first interview please bring only the photographs of your pet. For the application, a letter is required from your veterinarian stating that your animal is gentle, well-behaved, and would make a good pet visitor with the elderly.
Please fill out the application and health status report (see below for attachments) and send it back via email at SRNVolunteers@jewishhome.org.
Health Status Report
Topfield Equestrian Center is seeking volunteers for its therapeutic riding lessons. The center serves individuals and groups ages four and up who are living with various challenges and ability levels to learn horseback-riding skills.
Side Walker Volunteers do not require horse experience; this is the perfect opportunity for those who would like to work alongside riders and help them learn new riding skills. Therapeutic riding lessons run year-round.
Topfield Equestrian Center is looking for experienced Barn Volunteers to assist with horse turnout, feeding, and stall mucking. Barn volunteers must have three to five years of previous experience working in a barn and handling horses.
Barn shifts are 8:30-10:30 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. on Sunday through Saturday year-round, including holidays. Volunteers must submit a volunteer application and attend an orientation and training prior to volunteering.
Our volunteer puppy raisers sometimes need someone to care for their pup for short periods of time (usually a week or less) when they go away, or have a situation that prevents them from caring for their pup. All supplies, including the pup's crate, needed will be brought with the pup when the pup is delivered to your home, so there's no expense to you, unless you want to purchase a gate to limit the pup's access in your home.
We ask that you complete the puppy raiser application on our website, and indicate you want to be a vacation relief person (there's a spot on the form for your comments). The application is under applications on our Home Page on putnamservicedogs.org. We will assess you as carefully as we assess those applying to be a puppy raiser, including speaking to your references.
When a puppy raiser needs someone to take their pup, we contact people on our Vacation Relief list to find someone whose schedule works with the time slot requested.
You'll be spending time with a great dog, helping a great cause, and get your doggy fix for awhile.