Every working service dog starts as a service dog in training (SDIT) that needs a loving home. The Service Dog Raisers Program consists of volunteer families who agree to welcome a SDIT into their homes and daily lives. These homes are where our young service dogs’ training and socialization begins. It is here that the service dogs in training become comfortable with home life, learn basic obedience, and begin to experience the world through the love and dedication of SDWR volunteer families. Service Dog raisers take their SDITs everywhere— to work, school, out to eat, shopping and on trips. These real-world experiences are needed to help them become the best service dogs possible for SDWR clients. The Service Dog Raiser Program also increases awareness of invisible disabilities and the role that a service dog can play in helping those who cope with a disability. Service Dog raisers receive their dog when it is approximately four months old, after the SDIT has passed temperament testing and has received necessary vaccinations. The dogs stay with our raisers for 9-18 additional months once placed with a raiser at an approximate age of 4 months.
To meet the need for services as clearly demonstrated by the hundreds of families waiting for service dogs from us and to meet the need to fulfill its mission to educate, advocate and provide awareness for the invisible disabilities community, SDWR is facing a need for more volunteers and a need for funding to support these volunteers. We currently have 100+ volunteer Service Dog raisers. Without our dedicated volunteers, SDWR could not operate and provide hundreds of service dogs to adults and children who need them so very much. As the demand for our service dogs continues to grow the need for volunteer service dog raisers will also increase.
Each service dog raiser receives a welcome kit. This kit includes a service vest, an ID tag, heart guard and flea collar, a training and flat collar, a leash, a clicker, a crate, toys and treats. College students will also receive their dog food for free as long as they fulfill specific tasks including bi weekly electronic check ins, monthly training seminars, and posting to social media sites. Medications and veterinary expenses are covered as necessary. This program also includes expenses associated with overhead costs.
It costs the organization an estimated $2,397 to support a service dog in training during this stage of the training process.
Please consider joining SDWR in raising the next generation of Service Dogs. Every donation goes towards the service dog raising program and helps place service dogs with disabled individuals.