PLEASE NOTE: The only opportunities currently open to brand new volunteers are puppy raising and weekend fostering.
Kind and caring volunteers share their talent, time, and treasure to make our mission possible.
We need your help to raise the next generation of Freedom Service Dogs!
NOTE: Most of our puppy raisers reside in Colorado, but if you are out-of-state and interested in this opportunity, contact us to learn more about ways to support this program.
We urgently need volunteers to help raise the next generation of Freedom Service Dogs. In addition to our 39 babies born in 2020, we’re expecting approximately 120 more puppies in 2021—and each of these small service dog candidates needs a volunteer puppy raiser to help them reach their full potential. If you live in Colorado and can help raise a puppy in your home for 10 to 12 months, we want you!
Our puppies range from 2 to 4 months old, with some already housetrained and crate trained, and others needing instruction in those areas. As a puppy raiser, you’ll supply love, basic obedience training, and socialization. FSD will provide special training, both online and in-person, using social distancing and other protocols designed with your safety and well-being in mind. You will also receive continuous guidance and ongoing support from FSD staff and fellow puppy raisers, as well as supplies.
Live outside Colorado? Contact us to see how you can support this rapidly expanding program, and please share this opportunity with your Colorado community of family and friends!
To learn more about our Puppy-Raising Club, contact Hannah Perruccio at 303-922-6231 x201 or [email protected]
puppy Raising FAQs
First, complete the Puppy Raiser Application. Each member of the household 18+ must complete the background check portion of the application. Once FSD has received your application, we will reach out to you with the rest of the onboarding process. You will be required to sign a Puppy Raiser and Training Agreement, a Puppy Raiser Covid Waiver, read the Puppy Raiser Binder, and schedule a phone meeting with our Puppy Development Coordinator.
Most puppies are placed with a raiser after completing their prison training to learn their basic cues. Puppies will usually be in a raiser home from the age of two to four-months-old until around 13 or 14 months old.
FSD is able to cover many expenses of having a puppy. This includes all vaccinations, medical expenses, a collar, leash, crate, various toys, treat pouch, clicker, service dog vest, and a gallon of kibble. Raisers are required to purchase kibble for the puppy (Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy).
Puppy raisers are required to attend at least one lesson at FSD or group puppy outing with a staff member per month. If scheduling is an issue, let FSD staff know and they will work with you.
All puppies are fed and treated using Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy kibble. Avoid incorporating high-value treats (hot dogs, chicken, cheese, training treats), as this will create a picky puppy.
Yes, many puppy raisers have other dogs, cats, birds, chickens, and reptiles. The puppies and pets should be able to cohabitate and get along after any initial introductory periods.
FSD encourages raisers to travel with puppies when feasible. This is usually limited to road trips or taking public transit, as airlines are raising their restrictions. However, if the puppy is ready and the airline allows, we do allow puppies on airplanes.
FSD has volunteers who are able to help puppy sit. If you know that you will be out of town or just need a weekend break from the puppy, let us know and we will work to find a puppy sitter.
While puppies are wearing their service dog vests, they should be in training mode. This means no roughhousing, trying to pull toward other dogs, people, etc. When puppies are walking on-leash without their vests, they should be well-mannered and paying attention to their handler. When puppies are off-leash, they can tear around with other dogs, sit in your lap on the floor to cuddle, zoom around the house, chew on their toys, and be puppies.
FSD does not allow puppies to be on human beds or furniture while in the raiser home. This is to avoid creating the expectation that the puppy can jump onto furniture whenever they please. Raisers are encouraged to put some cushions on the floor and sit with the puppies.
Yes, when the puppies and raisers are both ready. We encourage raisers to slowly expose the puppies 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 puppies are ready for so many new distractions and that it will be a positive experience.
We are placing cohorts (groups) of puppies every 1 ½ – two months with puppy raisers. Once you have completed the onboarding process, staff will give you an approximate puppy placement date.