Overview of Position
Paws for Purple Hearts (PPH) seeks Puppy Parents/Fosters for our service dogs in training! Puppy Parents play a crucial role in in the life of a service dog by socializing the dog to new environments, experiences, and people. Puppies' minds are like sponges and the experiences that a service dog has early in life are critical to its later development and behavior. Not only will raising a service puppy be fun and exciting for you, it helps us to further our mission to provide highly trained service dogs to service members and veterans with disabilities. The ages of the dogs in training range from 4 months to 2 years and all dogs are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, or Labrador/Golden Retriever crosses.
As a volunteer Puppy Parent, Paws for Purple Hearts will provide some of the items necessary to raise a puppy in your home, such as a leash, harness, and food. Any other items purchased for the puppy are considered a tax-deductible in-kind donation to Paws for Purple Hearts.
Puppy Parent Responsibilities:
- Care for the dog in a safe and loving household for a period of time, or periods of time, as determined by Paws for Purple Hearts.
- Transport the dog to and from the Paws for Purple Hearts site, as requested, in order for the dog to participate in training with PPH trainers and veterans.
- Provide food, water, toileting area, and appropriate toys for the dog while it is in your care.
- Take the dog with you on public outings in order to expose him or her to new environments. Each dog will have a "Service Dog in Training" vest that allows public access to areas where pets may normally be restricted (such as stores and restaurants).
- Reinforce the dog's training and, in some cases, teach new skills.
- Attend Puppy Parent training meetings as required by Paws for Purple Hearts.
- Submit regular Puppy Parent Reports to Paws for Purple Hearts as required.
- Obtain veterinary services for the dog, if necessary and as requested by Paws for Purple Hearts, while in your care.
Puppy Parent Qualifications:
- The primary handler must have permission to take the dog to school or work or have someone available for the puppy every four hours at a minimum.
- The primary handler must be able to drive and have access to a car. (Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis)
- Handlers who are minors must have parental supervision.
- Handlers must be able to transport the dog to and from the Paws for Purple Hearts site as requested.
- The primary handler must own the home or have permission to have a dog in the home.
- The home must be safe and able to be puppy proofed, with a safe outside area to potty train.
- Handlers must be non-smokers or refrain from smoking around the dog, including in the house.
- The household cannot have dogs under 2 years old in the home and no dogs with aggression or other behavior issues, such as reactivity, resource guarding, or dogs that are not potty trained.
- All handlers must be mentally and physically capable of training the puppy, carrying the puppy, and handling problem behaviors.
- All handlers must have the physical and mental capacity to provide consistent and stable care and training and ensure the dog is not at risk inside or outside of the home.
- Primary handler and all members of the household must be willing to utilize positive training methods, follow the Paws for Purple Hearts training method, and commit to socialization and potty training.
- The primary handler must be willing and able to provide reports and attend training as requested by Paws for Purple Hearts.
- Primary handler and all members of the household must be committed to our mission to provide highly trained service dogs for service members and veterans with disabilities.
- Experience with dogs preferred.
The schedule and length of time the puppy is in your care depends on the puppy, our needs, and your situation. Depending on these factors, a puppy parent schedule may look like one of these options:
- Take the dog home for the weekday evenings and weekends. Drop the dog off at PPH in the morning for training and pick up the dog in the evening after training.
- Take the dog home on the weekends and return the dog to PPH at the end of the weekend.
- Take the dog home for other designated periods of time, such as during the holidays or for extended periods of time as needed.
- Animal Care / Handling
- Animal Therapy
Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- Driver's License Needed
- Must be at least 16
- Orientation or Training
- 6 months +