As the coronavirus crisis continues to evolve around the globe, throughout the U.S., and here in Colorado, we want to reassure you that nothing is more important than the health, safety, and well-being of our volunteers, clients, and staff. Despite the fact that the state of Colorado has begun to reopen and loosen their “stay at home” guidelines, Freedom Service Dogs will continue to operate under a limited model to ensure everyone’s safety. We greatly miss our volunteers and cannot wait until we can safely see you again! PLEASE NOTE: THE ONLY OPPORTUNITY CURRENTLY OPEN TO NEW VOLUNTEERS IS PUPPY RAISING. WE ARE CLOSED TO ALL OTHER NEW VOLUNTEERS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
As an FSD volunteer, you will touch the lives of clients, families, and dogs, and play a vital role in helping us fulfill our mission.
Dog care and enrichment, office help, special projects, and corporate group volunteer days.
Puppy-Raising Club, fostering opportunities, speakers bureau, special events, research projects, donation drives, third-party fundraisers, and more.
We need you to help raise a future service dog candidate!
NOTE: This opportunity is open to Colorado residents only at this time and is currently the only volunteer opportunity available to new FSD volunteers. We have puppy raisers from Greeley to Colorado Springs! If you live outside Colorado, please share this opportunity with family and friends who live in Colorado. Thank you!
We urgently need Colorado-based volunteers to help raise the next generation of Freedom Service Dogs. With 23 new puppies born at FSD this year and more on the way, our mission to continue serving clients with disabilities depends on our ability to place dozens of puppies in the homes of volunteer puppy raisers as a vital part of their service dog training.
As a volunteer puppy raiser, you will be responsible for maintaining the puppy’s basic obedience training, as well as socializing them through exposure to different people, places, and experiences. (All puppies in this program have been previously crate trained and potty trained.) You will raise the puppy at your home for approximately 10 months (from around 4 months to 14 months old) to guide them on their path to becoming a service dog. Along the way, you will experience the fun, playfulness, and joy that a puppy can bring to your life, along with the satisfaction of helping your puppy learn, grow, and prepare for the chance to make a huge difference in the life of a veteran, child, or other adult with disabilities.
As a member of our Puppy-Raising Club, you will receive online training and participate in indoor training sessions 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 to raise your puppy.
To learn more about our Puppy-Raising Club, contact Bailey Powell firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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.
NEW VOLUNTEERS & FOSTERS
Thank you for your interest in sharing your time and talent as a volunteer at Freedom Service Dogs.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, we are currently unable to onboard new volunteers, except for puppy raisers. Learn more about becoming a puppy raiser or contact Bailey Powell at email@example.com.
Please check back for information about signing up for an orientation, which is the first step in the process of becoming a volunteer. Thank you for bearing with us as we work to improve our volunteer program.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT PROCESS
- Attend a Volunteer Orientation, where you’ll learn about our organization, training process, clients, and volunteer opportunities to find out if we are a good fit for you.
- Complete an online application and background check ($18 fee). The application link will be provided after orientation.
- Volunteers interested in Dog Care and Enrichment and Foster assignments will be required to attend the corresponding class. To foster a dog, you must attend both classes. The link to register for this class will be provided after orientation.
- Upon the completion of the Dog Care and Enrichment class, all fosters will be asked to complete Dog Walking and Dog Body Language for Fosters classes before attending the Foster class. All members of the household that are over the age of 18 must also complete the volunteer background check. As a PACFA-certified organization, we must also conduct an annual home inspection.
Learn more about volunteering (FAQs)
We ask that volunteers work an average of four hours per month in some capacity. For onsite volunteering, shifts are flexible and are available during these times: Monday-Thursday 9 am to 7:30 pm and Friday-Sunday 9 am to 3 pm.
Weekend volunteers primarily focus on cleaning kennels and other kennel projects since most of our dogs go to foster homes on the weekends.
Volunteers typically do not train our dogs. You will learn basic commands and rules to follow while you play with and walk our dogs. As you become more involved, you will have more opportunities to learn about our dog training.
Once you have completed 24 hours as a Dog Care and Enrichment volunteer, you will be eligible to take additional dog walking classes. The goal of these classes is to give volunteers the skills to consistently reinforce skills while walking our service dogs in training. As you successfully complete the skills assessments associated with each class, you will be able to take dogs for walks on nearby trails.
Volunteers age 16 or older can volunteer without an adult. Youths between 12–15 years old can volunteer onsite with an adult, but both adult and youth must attend Dog Care and Enrichment training. The adult must control the leash. The youth can play with the dog in the play yard off-leash.
:All volunteers age 18 or older are required to complete a background check. The check is performed by an outside company and costs $18. Freedom Service Dogs reserves the right to deny any and all volunteer opportunities to an individual based on the results of their background check and/or admitted convictions. Under no circumstances do we accept volunteers who have felonies on their record, nor do we accept volunteers with violent crimes, crimes where the victim(s) belongs to vulnerable populations (including children, animals, adults with mental or physical disabilities, and others), or crimes involving theft of any kind. Other convictions and charges will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Corporate VOLUNTEER DAYS
Corporate Volunteer Days are a great way for your company to give back to the community!
Thank you for your interest in supporting Freedom Service Dogs by volunteering with us! Please note that while we do not require a monetary donation, we prioritize groups that make a financial or in-kind contribution to help fuel our mission.
Many groups that have volunteered at FSD in the past have helped us in exceptional ways: changing out pea gravel in the play yards, helping with building maintenance, assisting in the kennels, and so much more!
Here are a few things to keep in mind for group volunteer days:
- Volunteer groups assist with duties such as (but not limited to) cleaning kennels, folding laundry, sweeping/mopping, power washing, and more. Special projects are available throughout the year.
- The primary activity will not involve direct interaction with dogs; however, we try to end group volunteer sessions with some time to interact with a dog.
- Group volunteer shifts are between 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. We ask for a minimum two-hour commitment.
- If your group is interested in volunteering, please let us know at least one month in advance (we often schedule groups two months or more in advance).
- The minimum age for volunteers is 12. Volunteers age 12–13 must be accompanied by adults in a 1:1 ratio (one adult for every one child). Volunteers age 14–15 must be accompanied by adults in a 1:2 ratio. Freedom Service Dogs staff members or volunteers do not count toward this ratio.
- Please seek prior approval for groups larger than 10.
- Each volunteer must individually complete a Volunteer Release before participating. If a volunteer is under age 18, the release must be signed by a parent or guardian.
- Volunteers should bring water or other drinks.
Volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes or they will be unable to participate. Please dress in clothes that you do not mind getting dirty.
This program is designed for short-term volunteering to meet court-ordered service.
This program is designed for adult court-ordered service with a minimum of 24 hours to complete. Please complete a community service application and email email@example.com to schedule an orientation.
Please keep in mind that we are a tremendously popular placement for community service, so we may not be able to accommodate your first choice for date or time. Please plan to bring all of your paperwork on the first day.
Community service shifts are available on a first-come, first-served basis, seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to noon. These shifts include duties such as (but not limited to) cleaning kennels, folding laundry, sweeping/mopping, power washing, and more. The primary activity will not involve direct interaction with dogs.
We do not accept any community service workers who are serving for a felony offense, any violent offense, offenses where the victim(s) belong to vulnerable populations (including children, animals, adults with mental or physical disabilities, and others), or crimes involving theft.
We reserve the right to accept community service workers on a case-by-case basis. We also reserve the right to terminate the community service relationship if the worker is being disruptive to our daily operations (i.e., constantly late, missing a shift, being rude to volunteers/staff/dogs, etc.). Persons released from our community service program are responsible for finding a new community service placement on their own.
Collect items from our Wish List
Donation drives are a great option for those who want to be involved with Freedom Service Dogs but are unable to volunteer regularly.
A donation drive is run by a person or group of people for the purpose of collecting highly desired items from our Wish List. This list includes supplies, gift cards, and “dream” items, such as computers and cleaning equipment. We love donation drives because they allow people to contribute practical, useful goods to FSD and see their donations literally at work.
Thank you for your interest in helping FSD! Please click here to fill out our form and we will get back to you shortly. We appreciate your support!