So my wife and I are interested in possibly entering into a puppy raising program for service dogs. For anyone that doesn't know, you essentially raise the pup until it's about 14 months old and mature enough to take on full-boat training for the service program. You are responsible for socializing it around both people and other animals.
We have 4 years with our boys under our belts and have a couple of pretty stellar dogs for our efforts (Rommel, as an ornery rescue was particularly rewarding). We feel as qualified as anyone to take on this responsibility.
Further, my wife is a nurse and has 3 12-hour shifts a week, so she'll have four days off (which may not overlap with mine due to an odd schedule) and she works nights, so we are in a unique position of almost always being able to have someone home to work with the pup.
We're in Central Missouri and we've come across 3 programs that have some promise. Does anyone know of some programs in the area that we can at least gather information from to determine if this is something that is really right for us?
Anyone have any experience with these programs that can provide some insight?
Can't recommend any programs, but I know a lady who bred and raised Labs specifically for Leader Dogs for the Blind. I know she spent almost all of her time doing this, but it was so rewarding for her.
I hope you find all the information you need!
Bless you for wanting to do this.
One of my neighbors is raising a GSD pup for the Royal Australian Air Force. They got him at 8 weeks & are working on socializing him. They have to give him back @ 4 months where he'll then be trained for S&R, bomb detection or wherever else he's needed. I feel sorry for the poor little guy because according to RAAF rules, he has to live in a kennel outside because obviously, he's not going to be a pet so he can't understand why he can't be allowed inside & be part of the family.
I couldn't do it. There's no way I could go through the process of feeding him, leash training & socializing him just to hand him back. I'm afraid I'm too soft. :embarrass:
Poor little pup. :'(
I don't know of any organizations in your area, but we adopted our boy from a guide dog organization on the West Coast. Sundance's allergies got him booted from the program.
You may not have to be home most of the time to raise a pup. The organization we adopted from actually encourages folks to bring their foster dogs to work and get out there and expose them to as many different things as possible.
In California, a puppy wearing a training vest is allowed access to all public places available to actual guide dogs. As a pup, Sundance alternated between going to a second grade class with his foster mom, who's a teacher, and going to work in an office with his foster dad. He also took public transportation and went on road trips with his puppy raisers.
I think it's wonderful that you want to do this. It takes a special type of person to be able to raise a pup and give him/her up to improve someone else quality of life.
Good luck to you.
Laura, mom of Sundance, CGC