PRINCETON, MASS. (WHDH) - A Massachusetts-based organization announced Tuesday that it is recruiting volunteer full-time puppy raisers to help train future service dogs.

NEADS World Class Service Dogs, of Princeton, is looking for puppy raisers in Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and Rhode Island due to a growing demand for service dogs amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials said in a news release.

Puppy raiser candidates must be willing and able to do the following:

  • Take Service Dogs in Training into their homes and look after them for 12 to 16 months, working on critical socialization and basic obedience
  • Physically manage a young and energetic dog
  • Attend one weekly training session with a NEADS trainer. Classes are held virtually, at the NEADS campus and at locations mutually convenient to the Raisers and Trainers
  • Care for the NEADS dog 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing a safe, healthy and loving environment (NEADS dogs can only be left alone for a maximum of two hours at a time as puppies and no longer than three to four hours as they get older)
  • Provide daily training, socialization and physical exercising
  • Handle the puppy and teach them crate training, house training and other appropriate behaviors in the home
  • Be financially responsible for certain supplies, namely a crate, chew toys, dog bowls, appropriate training toys and a long leash line; NEADS provides all food and medical care

“While we realize the commitment that we ask our Full-Time Puppy Raisers to make is a major one, we also cannot reinforce enough how meaningful this process is for the Raisers,” NEADS CEO Gerry DeRoche said. “Our volunteers have the once-in-a-lifetime experience (or hopefully more!) of preparing these amazing dogs for a career of helping others with disabilities, including those who are deaf or physically disabled, children who have autism, or veterans who have PTSD; or providing therapeutic assistance in a variety of professional settings. And the added stressors and isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic has made the need for our highly-trained service dogs more critical than ever before.”

Ideal candidates to become a puppy raiser range from families to couples to retirees, but need to devote time, energy, and love to successfully socialize and train the dogs.

Socializing consists of following outlined field trip levels to expose the dog to everyday life in public settings, including malls, restaurants, and grocery stores to familiarize with various sounds, sights, and people, according to NEADS.

To fill out an application and learn more information, click here.

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