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Puppy Raisers Needed!

A little business first – current donation total is $1856, woo hoooo! And there are now twelve authors signed on for the compilation,  four top-flight betas offering one-shot services, and Tkegl still has some banners available, too! By next Thursday, there will be a new section under Leo's World that will include our detailed wish list needs, a graph showing dollars raised/still needed, and all the premiums available to you when you donate! I'm such a nerd, I'm actually excited about getting all that up for you, squee!

Oh, and I'm learning about all this bloggy stuff – I now have some affiliations! (and hope to have more soon!) Plus, there are avi's/blog buttons over there in the left hand column in case you want to show off your support on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever :-D

Now, on to the juicy stuff. In a recent conversation, a friend asked about how she might get involved in supporting service dog partnership in a different way – as a puppy raiser. What is a puppy raiser you ask? It's an individual (or couple, or family) that takes on the task of raising a puppy that will one day (hopefully) become a dog partner for someone like me.

Each organization has their way of doing this desperately needed task, but the essentials are as follows. When a puppy becomes available, you get a call asking if you'd like to raise him or her. If you say yes, then you go get the puppy and bring them home. The typical age of puppies when they go to a puppy raiser home is 10-12 weeks.

You then raise and train the puppy like any other dog baby – housebreaking; basic obedience commands like sit, down, and stay; and the very important socialization. Many times, organizations hold monthly or bi-monthly meetings at their facility or in a public place for training, socialization, and seeing how the puppy is getting along. At a certain age, you'll be given a "service dog in training" vest for your puppy to wear. This enables you to take the little guy or gal with you into public places.

If your puppy makes it through all the stages, training, and tests, then at around one and a half to two years of age, you return the now adolescent dog to the facility for advanced work. Not going to lie, that's the hard part. You will have naturally bonded with each other and it will be hard to part with him or her. Then, if you like, you can continue on with a new little boy or girl.

Puppy raisers are the life blood of any service dog organization, and are frequently sorely needed. It's a priceless and selfless gift to give to someone else, someone like me. If there weren't people to raise puppies to be service dogs, then people like me wouldn't be able to have one. I'm so very grateful to anyone who raises dogs for any kind of service.

Many times, the service dog recipient and puppy raiser get to meet each other at some point in time. Frequently at a graduation ceremony if there is one. I will never forget meeting Peter's puppy raising family. The woman and I cried and cried over each other in gratitude. She gave me a beautiful bound book of his puppy life story as well as an unfinished scrapbook so that I could add to it as we shared life. I can't ever thank her and her family enough for raising Peter so carefully and dutifully and then giving him up so that he might be the miracle he became in my life.

It's definitely not for everyone, but for those who can and do do it, it's really a miracle in the making for you and the person who benefits from your gift. If you are interested in learning more, and/or possibly pursuing becoming a puppy raiser, I suggest starting with approaching organizations in or near your geographical location. Many have a web site with more information on their puppy raising program, and may even have the needed forms online for you to complete.

To find a service dog organization near you (international listings, too) click here to go to the Assistant Dog International web site for a comprehensive directory.

Until next week,
Hug someone you love,


{ adonicass } at: September 9, 2011 at 3:34 PM said...

Your friend who asked you to write this particular post is bust with emo - grateful for those who are willing to raise a puppy, train him/her, and then turn over the leash to a grateful recipient.

I really want to be a puppy raiser someday. In the meantime, at least I can support a puppy recipient!


{ Yo Panoli } at: September 18, 2011 at 8:19 PM said...

I will definitely spread the word for you.
Unfortunately, it is all I can do at this time. I'm currently seeking employment. I will do more when it becomes possible. I pray everything works out for you and Leo!! Take care!!!

{ Yo Panoli } at: September 18, 2011 at 8:26 PM said...

I'm GoreLoverGirl on Twitter and YoPanoli on FFN and FB.

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