The America’s VetDogs Prison Puppy Program benefits everyone involved in the program: inmates, correctional facility staff, weekend puppy raiser volunteers and of course their new handler and partner.

When puppies are about 8 weeks old, they go to live with specially chosen inmates at the correctional facilities that have partnered with America’s VetDogs.  For the next year, under the direction of a VetDogs instructor, the program pups will follow a service dog curriculum, which means inmates will teach them not only basic obedience, they will also teach them how to do specific tasks such as turn on lights, open doors, and retrieve dropped items.

On weekends, the pups live with weekend raisers to gain the socialization experiences not found within a prison environment.  Weekend raisers are responsible to socialize the puppy as much as they can.  They bring the puppy everywhere they go including restaurants, libraries, the mall and as many different environments as possible.  They also expose it to as many different situations including schools, busy pedestrian areas, other animals, and interaction with children.  A well-socialized puppy will have fewer adjustments to make when it comes back to VetDogs for formal service dog training. 

How do I become a weekend puppy raiser?

Prospective weekend puppy raisers are interviewed by a Puppy Department staff member.  Once accepted, orientation, training manuals, videos, classes, and staff assistance are provided.

Please consider applying for this program. We need part-time weekend puppy raisers in these areas:

  • Connecticut: Enfield area (currently a waitlist) 
  • Florida: Milton area (currently a waitlist) 
  • Massachusetts: Shirley, Framingham (currently a waitlist), Norfolk and Bridgewater (currently a waitlist) areas
  • Maryland: Westover, Cumberland and Hagerstown areas
  • Pennsylvania: Dallas area

 Click the button below to apply today. 

Apply Now

Are you interested in becoming a full-time volunteer puppy raiser? Click here to learn more.