Our wonderful puppy raisers choose to volunteer and become an essential part of our mission for various reasons. They want to give back. They love puppies. They’re looking for a hobby. They know someone whose life has been impacted by one of our assistance dogs. All great reasons!
So, when we asked Elena, a sophomore at UC Davis, why she choose to be a volunteer puppy raiser, she shared, “In the summer of 2015, I volunteered at BOOST Camp, a camp for kids with varying levels of cerebral palsy. One of the campers had a Canine Companions assistance dog. There were also Canine Companions trainers that showed the kids and parents how the dogs could be of use to them. That’s when I decided to learn more!”
Our puppy raisers are often introduced to our organization through friends, colleagues, graduates or other volunteers sharing our mission in their communities. Elena met some great people who were able to give insight into the impact of our dogs and the people we serve. Initially she chose to volunteer as a puppy walker and bather. Then, she explains, “After my first year of college, I decided that I needed to raise a puppy. I did everything I could to make the circumstances work. Now, I am in my second year as an animal science major and Dizzy, my first Canine Companions puppy, is my everyday sidekick!”
When Elena became a puppy raiser, she not only gained a new furry friend, she also became a part of the Canine Companions family. She says, “I am forever grateful that I was able to connect with Canine Companions and become part of the family, because it really is a family. The support system for puppy raisers and graduate teams is so amazing and makes you feel confident that somebody will always be there for you in this wonderful journey!”
Because of volunteers like Elena, we will be able to provide more assistance dogs free of charge to adults, children and veterans with disabilities. Her efforts allow us to Give Independence – and Give a Dog a Job®.