Become a Puppy Raiser
At OccuPaws Guide Dog Association, our puppies have a very special destiny — to assist a person with a visual impairment in leading a more fulfilling and independent life. For these puppies to achieve their potential, they must grow up in a loving environment and be exposed to a variety of stimulating experiences.
The volunteer puppy raising program is of extreme importance to the entire OccuPaws program; it establishes the foundation of early experiences, which are critical in preparing a puppy for formal harness training. Volunteer puppy raisers must have the ability to safely house and care for a puppy from eight weeks of age until the required turn-in date (approximately 12-18 months of age). Volunteer puppy raisers must be willing and able to devote time each day to oversee the complete care of the puppy: feeding, grooming, socialization, and exercise as recommended by the Community Puppy Program Coordinator.
This mission involves four major areas of personal and financial responsibility:
- Providing for the care and well-being of an OccuPaws puppy:
- A safe home environment
- Food and other supplies required for puppy raising
- Healthcare – preventative healthcare, spay or neuter (when requested by the puppy program coordinator) and any necessary incidental healthcare requirements.
If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Puppy Raiser, please review the following
Puppy Raising Guidelines:
- The OccuPaws puppy should be the only young puppy (12 months and under) in the household.
- Puppy must live indoors and sleep in a crate.
- Young puppies must be supervised (or crated) throughout the day.
- Puppy raiser is required to attend approved obedience classes.
- Puppy raiser shall pay veterinary, feeding, and transportation costs to and from OccuPaws events. (All expenses are tax deductible).
- Puppy is to be fed according to OccuPaws specifications.
- Puppy shall live with puppy raiser until 12-18 months of age.
- Puppy raiser is required to keep the OccuPaws puppy on leash at all times unless in a securely fenced area.
- Puppy raiser is required to submit monthly progress reports and to promptly report behavioral, medical, or training issues to OccuPaws.
- Visits to puppy raiser family’s residence by an OccuPaws representative will occur periodically with reasonable prior notice given.
- Puppy raiser agrees to return puppy to OccuPaws upon request at any time.
- Should boarding become necessary, the OccuPaws puppy must be housed in an approved kennel. **Intact females will be kenneled at an OccuPaws approved facility for the duration of every heat cycle.
- Puppy raiser must live within 90 minutes of Madison, Oshkosh, or Janesville to be able to attend OccuPaws puppy raiser classes in Madison, Oshkosh or Janesville.
- Puppy raiser’s age requirements shall be determined by an OccuPaws representative. Puppy raisers under the age of 18 need a parent or guardian to participate as co-puppy raisers.
Puppy Raiser Application (PDF)
Visit Puppy Raising FAQ for additional information
Puppy Trainers/Area Coordinators
Barbara Schultze – Madison Area Puppy Coordinator
Theresa Moe – Janesville Area Puppy Coordinator
Brenda Cirricione – Oshkosh Area Puppy Coordinator
Kelsey Mehlhoff – Puppy Sitter/Vacation Coordinator