Talking Points Below are general talking points and tools to help equip you with all the answers so you can help spread the word about FSD and our puppy raising program.
FSD Elevator Pitch
Freedom Service Dogs of America (FSD) is a Denver-based nonprofit that transforms lives by partnering people with custom-trained assistance dogs. Our clients include veterans with PTSD, children and teens with autism and other neurocognitive disabilities, and individuals with physical disabilities. Since being founded in 1987, Freedom Service Dogs has graduated hundreds of client-dog teams and provided lifetime support, at no cost to our clients. For more information, visit freedomservicedogs.org.
Here are the most common reasons why people think they can’t volunteer to raise an FSD puppy—and why we say, “Yes, you can!”
- It would be too hard to give the puppy back to FSD.
We’re not gonna lie: It can be hard. But many of our puppy raisers come back for a new pup each time their former puppy returns to FSD for advanced training and matching with one of our clients in need. Why? Because it’s fun. It’s a great way to meet new people and make new friends. And it’s incredibly rewarding. Here’s what one of our puppy raisers says about returning her puppy to FSD: “It helped me understand that what we are really doing is giving the best part of ourselves selflessly to someone who will absolutely treasure that sacrifice. It doesn’t take away the hurt the day you return these puppies, but it does kind of immunize you to it. It’s the greatest gift you can ever give.”
- I don’t live in Colorado.
While we most urgently need puppy raisers in the Denver metro area, we have puppy raisers throughout Colorado and would love to have more! We also have satellite puppy-raising groups in The Villages, Florida, Midland/Odessa, Texas, and Fenton, Michigan. If you live near one of these satellite locations, we can work with you to transport a puppy to you. If you live elsewhere, you would need to travel to FSD at your own expense to pick up and drop off a puppy. Support for all out-of-state puppy raisers includes one in-person session at your location and monthly virtual check-ins via Zoom.
- It’s too expensive to raise a puppy.
FSD provides all puppy raisers with dog food, vaccinations, medical care, collar, leash, crate, various toys, treat pouch, clicker, and a service dog trainee vest—completely free of charge!
- I live in a house/apartment/condo without a fenced yard.
We do not require that puppy raisers have a fenced yard; in fact, many of our clients do not have fenced yards. We welcome puppy raisers who live in homes without a fenced yard, as well as in apartments, townhomes, condos, etc.
- I travel frequently.
FSD encourages raisers to travel with their puppy when feasible. This is usually limited to road trips or taking public transit, as airlines are adding more restrictions for animals on airplanes. However, if the puppy is ready and the airline allows, we do allow puppies on airplanes. Additionally, FSD has a list of volunteer puppy sitters who can take care of your puppy if you are going out of town or just need a weekend break.
- I’ve never had a dog before.
We don’t require that our puppy raisers have any prior experience with dogs. As long as you are willing to learn, complete our orientation and onboarding process, and follow our puppy-raising curriculum, you are welcome to become a puppy raiser and experience all the joy, love, and rewards of raising and training a puppy in your home.
- I don’t have any dog training experience.
No worries! We provide orientation, onboarding, a comprehensive puppy-raising curriculum, and ongoing support from FSD staff and your fellow puppy raisers throughout the entire experience. Many of our puppy raisers say that they love learning about how to train a dog and use their newfound knowledge to train their own pets!
- I have other pets.
Many puppy raisers have other dogs, cats, birds, chickens, or reptiles. Your pets must be able to cohabitate with the puppy and get along after the initial introductory period. If you already have a dog under the age of 1 year in your home, we ask that you wait to raise a puppy until your dog is more mature, or at least over the age of 1 year. Trust us: Having two puppies at one time is more than a handful!
- I have children living at home.
Many of our puppy raisers have children who enjoy helping to raise a puppy while learning about responsibility and giving back to others. It is best if the children are old enough to understand and follow FSD’s guidelines for raising a puppy so that the puppy’s training and socialization is consistent among family members.
- I’m too busy to raise a puppy by myself.
No problem! We offer the option to co-raise a puppy so that you can share the fun and responsibilities of raising a puppy with an approved and trained friend, family member, or neighbor who wants to help out. If you don’t have a willing co-raiser, we can help partner you up with someone!
- I go hiking and camping a lot.
Both hiking and camping include a lot of new experiences and distractions for a puppy. We encourage raisers to slowly expose the puppy to a variety of new stimuli and experiences. Once you and the puppy are ready, talk to FSD staff about going camping or trail hiking. We want to ensure that the puppy will have a positive experience!
Any other reasons you think you CAN’T raise a puppy? Try us, and we’re sure we can give you a good reason that you CAN!