Putnam Service Dogs is recruiting Volunteer Puppy Raisers to raise a pup, and help change it into a Service Dog. They will be hosting free, informational lunches from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, at Mill Plain Diner, 14 Mill Plain Road, Danbury; Saturday, Jan. 27, Putnam Diner, 2600 NY-22, Patterson, N.Y.; and Sunday, Jan. 28, at Yorktown Heights Panera Bread, 6 Triangle Center, Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
Putnam Service Dogs plans to start two new classes of Puppy Raisers in 2018 in February and October. Volunteer Puppy Raisers are expected to attend weekly classes from the time they’re given a puppy of 10 weeks until the puppy is 8 months. When the pup turns 8 months, they’ll attend classes twice a month, led by Putnam Service Dogs’ certified and experienced trainer, Donna Gleason. 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. Raisers will be sharing their home and living with the dog for about 20 months if they make it to graduation.
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. Raisers are 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. 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, at 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.”
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.
For more information about Putnam Service Dogs, visit putnamservicedogs.org or call call 917-449-5359.