Putnam Service Dogs is currently recruiting Volunteer Puppy Raisers to raise a pup, and help change it into a Service Dog. They will be hosting free, informational lunches at 3 diners/restaurants in January around the area:
Saturday, Jan. 20th, 12-1pm, Mill Plain Diner, 14 Mill Plain Rd., Danbury, Ct.
Saturday, Jan. 27, 12-1pm, Putnam Diner, 2600 NY-22, Patterson, NY
Sunday, Jan. 28th, 12-1pm, Yorktown Heights Panera Bread, 6 Triangle Center, Yorktown Heights, NY.
Putnam Service Dogs plans to start 2 new classes of Puppy Raisers in 2018 - February and October.
Why be a Putnam Service Dogs Volunteer Puppy Raiser? One of their current raisers describes it as: “I started as a volunteer puppy raiser at PSD because it seemed like a win/win/win. I can get my doggy fix without owning another dog, a rescue dog is saved, and a person will be helped. Nancy (PSD’s CEO) and their trainer are always there to help and answer questions and the training provided is great. The dogs are treated with love, respect, and kindness. While it is definitely work to train a puppy, it is truly a gift to be part of PSD.” Volunteers have also noted it’s a way to give back to the community, to make a difference, and to learn a lot about dogs. Service Dogs are well behaved dogs that can perform specific tasks for their recipients, and the Volunteer Puppy Raisers are critical to PSD producing effective Service Dogs.
Service Dogs have to trust and love their handler, and Putnam Service Dogs’ trainer will teach you how to build a relationship with your puppy. What does a trusting relationship look like - the dog is engaged with you (eye contact), there’s willingness, contentment, connection, partnership, comfort, and compliance from their dog. You’ll learn how to communicate clearly with your puppy, and you and the puppy will learn awareness of each other’s needs.
Volunteer Puppy Raisers are expected to attend weekly classes from the time you’re given a puppy of 10 weeks until the puppy is 8 months. When the pup turns 8 months, you’ll attend classes twice a month. Putnam Service Dogs’ highly certified and experienced trainer, Donna Gleason, will teach you how to raise and train your pup. You’ll teach the puppy basic obedience skills to achieve a level of performance to pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test. You’ll also teach the puppy some Service Dog commands. You’ll be guided on how to take the puppy on outings to socialize the puppy to new experiences. Starting at age 16 months, PSD’s trainer will take over the training, and will train the puppy to perform the tasks needed by their matched recipient. You’ll be sharing your home and living with a great dog for about 20 months if they make it to graduation. Being a Service Dog asks a LOT of dogs, and most Service Dog Schools have a graduation rate of only about one third.
Putnam Service Dogs maintains ownership of the dog, unless it’s released and adopted out. This gives PSD the right to remove a puppy/service dog if neglect or abuse are discovered. Putnam Service Dogs will cover the majority of expenses - all adoption fees, all vet fees and medications, crates, and most of the other required supplies. You will be asked to provide the food, toys, and some supplies. If your puppy is released from the program, and you want to adopt it, it’s free to you if you’ve raised the puppy 6 months or more, $550 if less time.
Putnam Service Dogs will adopt the puppies from Partner Rescue Groups just before a Puppy Raising class begins. Puppies learn the most between the ages of 3-16 weeks, so no time will be wasted waiting for puppy raisers to be ready! The puppies will be between 8-12 weeks, and will probably be lab or golden retriever mixes. The recipients need dogs they can easily touch sitting in their wheelchairs, and good retrievers to fetch their dropped items. These breeds train easily. Hearing Alert dogs may be smaller dogs.
The Application for being a volunteer puppy raiser is on Putnam Service Dogs’ website, www.putnamservicedogs.org, under Applications on the Home Page, on the Volunteer Page, and on the blog article, “Being a Volunteer Puppy Raiser for Putnam Service Dogs.”
Putnam Service Dogs can’t produce Service Dogs without their Volunteer Puppy Raisers. They currently have 11 applicants on their waiting list, and only 2 pups in training. Service Dogs change the lives of their recipients. Volunteer Puppy Raisers are a critical part of the process.