Help a Military Veteran, Raise a Service Dog Puppy! 

Duke, a Labrador Retriever puppy who began his service dog training this month

Press release from Patriot Service Dogs

Patriot Service Dogs is seeking volunteer “Puppy Raisers” to assist in the training of puppies destined to change the life of a veteran.

Established in 2009, Patriot Service Dogs is a nonprofit organization, based in Central Florida. It trains service dogs for military veterans struggling with a range of disabilities like Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, and loss of a limb. All dogs are sponsored ($7,500), so the veteran pays nothing for the dog or training. The two years of training each dog receives are made possible by a community of volunteer puppy raisers and incarcerated women at the Lowell Correctional Facility who participate in Patriot Service Dog’s WOOF Program. To date, the organization has placed over 50 service dogs with veterans and is an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International, the leading authority in the assistance dog industry. 

Volunteering as a Puppy Raiser is a fun and rewarding experience for anyone interested in supporting veterans and a local organization! Patriot Service Dogs covers all dog-related costs for Puppy Raisers including food, vet care, and training treats. They have a variety of puppy raiser programs ranging from “long-term” volunteering, which lasts up to 18 months, to the “First Steps” program, which commits volunteers to working with their youngest puppies, two weeks at a time. All volunteers will receive in-person training at least once a month with the Lead Trainer and regular check-ins to answer any questions that arise. 

Of course, service dogs must follow certain rules our pet dogs don’t have to worry about. They are never allowed human food or to get on furniture. They are, however, allowed to train in public settings like restaurants, stores, and anywhere else a veteran might take their service dog! Puppy Raisers help the dogs learn how to work in public settings like these.

To apply, visit www.patriotservicedogs.org and complete the online volunteer application! A Patriot Service Dogs representative will get in touch for a phone interview. Accepted volunteers receive a manual and access to a one-hour video training class before being matched with a service dog in training. All dogs in the program are large breeds, mostly Labrador and Golden Retrievers, and under two years old, so Patriot Service Dogs asks that potential volunteers consider their physical abilities before applying. 

Puppy cuddles are guaranteed along with the feeling of knowing you’ve helped those who have given us so much.