FAQ'S FROM HAVE PAWS WILL TRAVEL
1. How do I get started raising a puppy with your club?
We ask that you attend at least three consecutive puppy meetings before filling out an application. When you are ready, a leader will come to your home for a fence
check and to answer any questions you have about the project, and you can complete the application for your own puppy.
2. How long does it take before I will have a puppy to raise?
That depends on the time of year and the availability of puppies. Puppy deliveries in Colorado normally take place between March and October. There is a waiting list for puppies, so the sooner you can get an application on file, the better. You can find a schedule of puppy deliveries under Events.
3. If there's a long wait for a puppy, how can I participate in the meantime?
We put new raisers to work right away by having them puppy sit. This is a great way to get experience with puppy raising before you bring home your own puppy.
4. I have a dog at home. How can I tell if it will adjust to having a new puppy in the house?
When you have your home visit, the leader will bring her puppy in training to get a feel for the other animals in your home and their compatibility with a guide puppy. The time you spend waiting and puppy sitting will allow ample opportunity for your pet dog to show you their feelings about a new dog in the house. Our experience suggests that most pet dogs are quite tolerant when the new dog is a young puppy. Of course, we cannot place a guide pup in a home with an aggressive pet dog, for safety reasons.
FAQ'S FROM Guide Dogs For The Blind
1. How old is a puppy when it is placed with a puppy raiser?
A puppy is placed in the home of a volunteer raiser when it is at least eight weeks old.
2. How long does a puppy stay with the puppy raiser?
A puppy usually remains in the puppy raiser home until it is between 12-18 months old. The length of time may vary, however, depending on the individual puppy's development or Guide Dogs for the Blind's need for dogs.
3. Is it necessary to have previous dog training experience to be a Guide Dog puppy raiser?
No. It is, however, helpful if you have a dog, or have had one in the past.
4. Are there other ways to help raise a Guide Dog puppy if the 12-18 months is too much of a time commitment?
Yes. Guide Dogs for the Blind also needs short term raisers who will keep a puppy until is it at least 20 weeks old. Short-term raisers housebreak and begin training the puppy before it is placed with another raiser who will finish raising the pup.
5. Are there meetings to attend with the puppy?
Yes. Puppy raising groups meet regularly under the direction of a Leader trained by Guide Dogs for the Blind. These informational meetings offer a place to learn about training techniques, meet other raisers and participate in excursions with the puppy.
6. How often are the meetings? How long are they and where are they held?
Guide Dogs for the Blind asks that each puppy raising group meet at least twice a month, but are encouraged to meet weekly with raisers who have puppies younger than 20 weeks of age. The meetings generally last 1-2 hours depending on the activities scheduled. Since Guide Dogs places puppies in raiser homes throughout the eight Western states (California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada), the meeting times and places will vary depending on location.
7. Do you have to be a member of the 4-H program to raise a Guide Dog puppy?
No; however, raising a Guide Dog puppy is an accredited 4-H project and many of the Guide Dog puppy raising groups are organized under the auspices of the 4-H program. Adult raisers may participate in 4-H puppy raising clubs, but are considered Leaders for 4-H registration purposes. There are also many other groups not affiliated with 4-H raising Guide Dog puppies which welcome both youth and adult raisers. For example, many groups have been organized through corporations, churches, service clubs and groups of acquaintance.
8. How are puppy raising groups formed if there are no established groups in a particular area?
Contact the Puppy Raising Department at Guide Dogs for the Blind. A member of the staff can provide the requirements needed for forming a puppy raising group.
9. Where does a Guide Dog puppy stay if the raiser is out-of-town?
Raisers in puppy raising groups frequently trade-off and supervise each other's puppies when the raisers are away. In some cases, a puppy can accompany the raiser on a out-of-town trip (with a Leader's approval) in order to further the pup's socialization.
10. Can there be other pets in the home with a Guide Dog puppy?
Yes. Controlled, supervised interaction between a Guide Dog puppy and other animals is beneficial for the Guide Dog puppy.
11. Does a Guide Dog puppy require any special foods?
Yes. Guide Dogs for the Blind does require that Guide Dog puppies be fed one of several specifically chosen brands of high-quality dry dog food. A Guide Dog puppy should never receive table scraps.
12. Who pays for a Guide Dog puppy's food and other expenses?
The raiser pays for a puppy's food, toys and incidental equipment such as grooming tools, food bowls and a crate (if needed). Guide Dogs for the Blind supplies leashes, puppy identification jackets, collars and other training equipment (if needed). Guide Dogs also provides a $250 veterinary care stipend in addition to the costs of vaccinations, ear cleaning solution, fecal checks, hip x-rays and any spay-neuter costs (requested by Guide Dogs).
13. Are the costs of raising a Guide Dog puppy tax deductible?
Yes. Guide Dogs for the Blind is a nonprofit charitable organization, and all expenses incurred by the raiser as they relate to raising the puppy (dog food, veterinary bills, gas mileage, etc.) are considered a donation to Guide Dogs Guide Dogs suggests all puppy raisers consult with a tax advisor to receive the proper IRS requirements for documentation.
14. What happens if a puppy is disqualified from the Guide Dog program?
If the puppy is disqualified from guidework and the canine buddy program, but is suitable as a family pet, the raiser is given priority to keep the puppy. If the puppy raiser is unable or chooses not to keep the puppy, Guide Dogs for the Blind has a Career Change Department which places the dogs in other loving households to live as pets.
15. Can a person be gone during the day and still raise a Guide Dog puppy?
Yes, as long as there are provisions made to relieve and exercise the puppy during the day. Accepting an older puppy that doesn't have as rigorous a relieving schedule could also be a consideration.
16. Is it time-consuming to raise a Guide Dog puppy?
Raising a Guide Dog puppy does involve spending time grooming, socializing and caring for the puppy. Puppy raisers are taught ways in which to work ongoing training into a daily schedule.
17. Can a Guide Dog puppy accompany the puppy raiser to places other than group meetings or the veterinarian's office?
Yes. A Guide Dog puppy should be exposed to a variety of socialization experiences. Puppy raisers take their pups to malls, grocery stores, school and work, among other places. Many times, the puppy raising group's regularly scheduled meetings will include outings specifically designed for puppy socialization. The group's Leader also teaches the raisers appropriate ways in which to expose the puppies to a wide range of socialization experiences.
18. Do puppy raisers find it hard to return the puppy to Guide Dogs?
Puppy raisers do become very attached to their puppies, however, they are comforted with the knowledge that their dogs will go on to become loving partners for people who are blind or visually impaired. At special graduation ceremonies, all puppy raisers are invited to formally present their dogs as guides, share their puppy raising experiences and develop friendships with their dogs' new partners.