America's Vet Dogs

How to Help


Becoming a Weekend Puppy Raiser

The Prison Puppy Program from America’s VetDogs 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 up with America’s VetDogs for this program. For the next year, under the direction of a Foundation dog trainer, the pups in the program will follow a service dog curriculum, which means inmates will 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 get the socialization experiences they can’t get in prison. While the puppy is with its weekend puppy raiser family, it is exposed to the sights and sounds of family life: riding in cars or buses or subways, going to restaurants, kids’ sporting events, or shopping at the mall. The pup gets used to blaring TVs, vacuum cleaners, and other animals such as cats and birds.

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
  • Massachusetts: Framingham, Norfolk and Bridgewater areas
  • Maryland: Westover, Cumberland and Hagerstown areas


Apply Now

If you are interested in becoming a full-time puppy raiser, click here.


Puppy