Opportunity Details

People with Disabilities, Animals

Age Minimum (with Adult): 14+, Minimum Age:18+

Volunteer Service Dog Puppy Raisers

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.

Volunteer expectations:

  • 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.


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Express Interest

Volunteers needed through 1/19/2020

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