Become a Volunteer Puppy Raiser

Assistance dogs aren’t just born, they’re raised.

person holding a small Canine Companions puppy

Volunteer puppy raisers provide specially-bred puppies a safe home, take them to obedience classes, serve up a healthy diet, provide socialization opportunities and give lots of love.

Each hour spent caring for a Canine Companions puppy is vital to its development as a future assistance dog. The puppy raising program provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to assist with our very important mission.

Please note: You must be at least 18 years old to be a volunteer puppy raiser. Those under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian as a co-applicant on the puppy raiser application.

Raise a puppy, change a life.

    As a volunteer puppy raiser, you must agree to the following:
  • Provide a safe environment for a puppy who will be the only dog under 1-year old in the house
  • Work closely with Canine Companions monitoring the puppy’s progress and submit monthly reports
  • Attend Canine Companions approved obedience classes
  • Teach the puppy manners and basic commands
  • Provide financially for the puppy’s food, medical and transportation expenses
  • Feed the puppy a diet recommended by Canine Companions
  • Provide a kennel or crate for sleeping indoors
  • Provide the puppy with age-appropriate socialization opportunities such as public outings and medical appointments
  • Keep the puppy on a leash at all times unless in a securely fenced area
  • Supervise the young puppy throughout the day
  • Agree to return the puppy upon request
Puppy raiser receives puppy and puppy package

Volunteer Puppy Raiser FAQs

Canine Companions for Independence® has been providing assistance dogs to people with disabilities since 1975. You can help us unite people with trained assistance dogs in a powerful program that leads to greater independence. Every assistance dog starts as a puppy that needs a loving home. You can raise a dog and change a life. Volunteer puppy raising is an incredible way to help children and adults with disabilities live more independent lives.

Volunteer puppy raisers provide Canine Companions puppies a safe home, take them to obedience classes, serve up a healthy diet, provide socialization opportunities and give lots of love.

Check out our Puppy Raiser FAQs >>

Canine Companions puppy in the grass

Prison Puppy Raising Program

The Canine Companions prison puppy raising program has made great strides since its inception 13 years ago at the Coffee Creek Correctional Center in Wilsonville, Oregon. It has expanded to include 13 facilities throughout the United States, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Learn More About the Prison Puppy Raising Program >>

Group of Collegiate Puppy Raisers and the Canine Companions puppies they are raising

Collegiate Puppy Raising

There are currently over 18 colleges and universities involved in the Canine Companions collegiate puppy raising program. Volunteer puppy raisers gain valuable skills including puppy handling, canine care, early socialization and much more.

The dedication of our collegiate puppy raisers helps Canine Companions provide life-changing assistance dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities free of charge.

Raise a puppy, change a life!

Want to start a club at your college? Learn more >>