Raise a puppy, change someone’s life

golden retriever puppy
Raise a puppy, change someone’s life

About the Author

Jenny Gladish

Jenny Gladish

Jenny Gladish is the communications manager for the Lion's Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. She has Bachelor Degrees from both Lakehead University and York University. At Sheridan College she earned a post graduate certificate in Corporate Communication.

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Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides is looking for responsible dog lovers with big hearts to open their homes to future service dog puppies by becoming volunteer puppy raisers.

The job entails taking in a puppy at approximately eight weeks of age, house and crate training according to provided guidelines, and helping the pup meet various milestones in obedience and socialization. Foster families attend scheduled veterinary appointments and obedience classes approximately once per month, so residing within an hours’ drive of Lions Foundation’s two facilities in Oakville and Breslau, Ont., is recommended.

“These puppies have a very special destiny as Dog Guides, so it’s a bit different than raising a pet dog,” notes Puppy Program coordinator Sam Hobbes. “They need to be exposed to many public settings, situations and people, so foster families are encouraged to include their puppy in most of their daily activities outside the home.”

Puppies wear a green ‘Future Dog Guide’ jacket, and foster families take them places like the grocery store, on public transit, and to sporting events – anywhere the puppy’s future handler might go. Families are advised to not leave the pup alone for more than a few hours each day.
At about one year of age, the dog is called back to the foundation’s centre to start formal training with a professional instructor in one of six programs.

“Foster families are incredibly special people who can look past eventually giving up their puppy, and see what they are giving to its future handler,” Hobbes says. “As a charity, they make this work possible.”

Dog food, veterinary care, obedience classes, and resources and support are all included. Lions Foundation has provided specially trained service dogs to Canadians with physical and medical disabilities for more than 30 years. The majority of Dog Guides come from the organization’s established breeding program, and include mainly Labrador retrievers and standard poodles.

For more information, visit www.dogguides.com/foster.html or email Puppy Program coordinator Sam Hobbes at shobbes@dogguides.com

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