September 21, 2020
If you’re working from home, now might be an great time to participate in the Guide Dogs of America puppy-raiser program.
Puppies from the organization’s litters are placed in foster homes, where puppy raisers will help the young dogs prepare for formal training and life as working guide dogs. When they’re ready, the dogs will eventually be paired with a person who is blind or visually impaired.
“The need for highly trained guide dogs and service dos hasn’t slowed during the pandemic,” said Stephanie Colman, puppy program coordinator. “In order to match service dogs with people who need them, we first need dedicated volunteers to help raise these amazing animals.”
Puppy raisers provide a caring home and teach basic obedience, house manners and provide urban socialization — helping puppies adapt to the real world and the situations they’ll encounter as guide dogs.
No experience is necessary. The program has been altered during the pandemic to allow for social distancing. Instead of in-person training classes, volunteers attend two rounds of online training. You’ll have access to online puppy “tech support” from GDA’s staff if questions come up.
“In may cases, major companies have announced a permanent work-from-home option for employees,” Colman said. “This has opened the door for many, allowing them to participate in the life-changing opportunity to raise a puppy who will go on to become the eyes of a blind or visually impaired person.”