While each of our volunteer puppy raisers is unique to the organization, they all share a common goal – to provide the love, dedication, sacrifice and joy it takes to raise a future assistance dog. The messages below express how and why our puppy raisers decided to join our organization and give a large piece of themselves and their hearts to support our mission.
We’ve learned something unique from each puppy that has come into our lives and to make the most of the time we have with each of them. We’ve learned to live more in the moment and to appreciate learning new things. We’ve met many wonderful people and volunteers and we cherish the relationships we’ve seen created between the graduate and their dog. I believe we have been blessed to be able to give of ourselves and yet receive so much in return.
– Kelly, volunteer since 2005
I have laughed till my stomach hurt as he played with the “other puppy” in the mirror and have felt like going outside and screaming when a command as simple as down was a challenge. Your heart swells with pride with each breakthrough of a difficult command.
– Gloria, volunteer since 1993
Our son, Tommy, loved dogs. Tommy was affectionate, humorous, generous, devoted, warm and full of energy. We wanted to do something in his memory to honor him. We could think of no better way to remember Tommy than to love and nurture a puppy, and to provide an assistance dog for someone. Canine Companions has helped us journey through our healing process, and has given us a meaningful reason to get up every morning.
– Sue and Terry, volunteers since 2015
So, what do I say to those people who ask, “How can you give them up?”… I say, the benefit outweighs the sadness. Our pup is not lost, she is alive and happy and she is doing the job she was born to do. We got to spend 18 fabulous months in the most adorable stages of her life and got to give her the foundation for success. We are so proud, and it is all worth it.
– Courtney and Elsie, volunteers since 2016
Eleven puppies later and my life has been deeply impacted by Canine Companions. I am fortunate that I have the ability to get to love and teach these adorable puppies that will one day change a life. Each puppy brings so much joy to everyone they meet. As they say, “come for the dogs, but stay for the people.” Canine Companions volunteers are some of the best people around.
– Laura, volunteer since 2001
We saw a presentation about Canine Companions while attending a ski club meeting, and decided that raising one puppy could be interesting. After all, having a puppy in the house for 1 1/2 years could be fun and we wouldn’t be committed for a long time. That was 18 years ago, and we are now raising our 15th puppy, Tallulah. Raising a Canine Companion puppy is now the norm. We simply can’t imagine not doing this. We have an incredible circle of Canine Companions friends, are constantly learning and, most important, continue to have the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better.
-Nancy and John, volunteers since 2000
Turning in my first dog, Jonathan, was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I would do it all over again. Puppy raisers get to play small parts in the amazing relationships between these dogs and the people that they help. As puppy raisers, we break our hearts over and over again with each dog, but seeing the smile on a graduate’s face when they’re handed the leash to their new independent life makes everything worth it.
-Caroline, volunteer since 2015
Thank you to our puppy raisers for sharing their stories. We are grateful for all they do! Their incredible efforts help us to give independence – and give a dog a job!