I’m a volunteer puppy raiser and the DC Group Leader for the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs. GDF and AVD are the organizations behind Biscuit and Captain (the Capitals team dogs) and Sully (President George H.W. Bush’s service dog and the current Walter Reed facility dog). Our programs are currently facing an urgent need for volunteer puppy raisers in the coming months.
The Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs breed, raise, train, and place guide dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired and service dogs for veterans and first responders with disabilities, including PTSD. Volunteer puppy raisers are a vital part of each dog’s journey towards changing someone’s life, and we have an urgent need for more raisers in the next few months.
We currently have 11 puppies being raised in DC and an additional 40 in northern Virginia and Maryland. Puppy raisers provide socialization and foundational obedience training for our dogs over a 10-14 month period. No prior dog training experience is needed, and our regional Puppy Advisors support each volunteer raiser through the pup’s upbringing and training milestones. This includes at least 2 monthly classes and any one-on-ones a raiser needs. The Foundation provides all necessary supplies and covers the cost of all necessities for each pup, including veterinary care. The only thing that each raiser is solely responsible for purchasing is the puppy’s food (~$50-65 every 7-9 weeks) and any extra toys from the Approved Toys list.
Applicants must complete an initial orientation, a minimum of 3 classes, and a home inspection prior to receiving a puppy-in-training. For more information and the raising application, you can visit puppy.guidedog.org.
Puppy raising is an awesome way to give back and a great way to meet people. I’ve made so many friends (both raisers and others) through raising. It’s also an incredible feeling to watch your dog go from a tiny ball of fluff to a fully trained service dog for someone who really needs them.”
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