service dogs

Nonprofit Looking for Volunteers to Raise and Train Service Dogs

NBC Universal, Inc.

Do you have the time and compassion to open up your heart and home to a little puppy?

If you're able to do this, you would also be helping someone with a disability.

NEADS World Class Service Dogs is recruiting full-time puppy raisers.

The company is based in Massachusetts, and for the first time ever, they're looking for volunteers to set up in Connecticut.

If you're interested, you would welcome an eight-week labrador puppy into your home.

Then, you would spend a year or year and a half together, following a curriculum to train the little pup so that it is prepared to become a service dog.

Ultimately, these dogs will help people who are physically disabled, have hearing loss, autism, or veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"What you're really focused on is socializing them to the outside world. You know, the best, well-rounded dogs are ones that can have exposure to all the different social things in the world. Again, from sporting events to going into the supermarket, to meeting people, meeting children, going to nursing homes, and that kind of stuff, we want them to be confident and capable to go in any setting, any distractions, any loud noises, and remain confident and focused on the person that they're there for," said Domenic Cornacchioli, NEADS Canine operations manager.

Right now, there is a huge demand for NEADS dogs. And like everything else, COVID-19 supply-chain issues are also impacting this industry.

While it's been harder for NEADS to get dogs, they have seen a surge in demand.

NEADS signed off on 90 applications for service dogs, but there are more than 400 other people who have submitted an application.

That means those people with disabilities could be waiting two to three years to get a dog.

To respond to the demand, they've started breeding, and right now they have about 30 puppies ready to go to raisers.

"We have the puppies now and they're ready to go, and I hope that you are willing to take on this awesome challenge in life. It's one of the best things that you can do for yourself, for your family and for that client at some point," Cornacchioli said.

Once a puppy turns eight weeks old, if nobody is lined up to raise it, it will go to a prison to train alongside inmates. If that doesn't happen, the puppy will have to be adopted out to the general public, which NEADS said is a last resort due to them needing as many dogs to go to clients with disabilities.

"It's one of the best things in the world when you see a dog that's matched with a client. "Having that dog next to them gives them that confidence, that ability to exit the house and not be afraid. Before they couldn't do that kind of stuff. But with that dog, it enables them to do so many more things," Cornacchioli said.

According to NEADS, you can still apply if you have other pets or kids.

For more information and to apply to have a furry friend, visit NEADS website.


Contact Us