Interested in becoming a Weekend Puppy Raiser?

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:

  • Massachusetts: Shirley -- URGENT NEED
  •   -  Bridgewater, Norfolk -- Wait List
  • Maryland:
    • Cumberland
    • Hagerstown
    • Jessup areas- Waiting List 
  • Maine: Warren area -- URGENT NEED
  • Connecticut: Somers and Suffield --Current Need
  • Florida: Milton and Pensacola areas -- URGENT NEED
  • Pennsylvania: Dallas area -- URGENT NEED
  • Georgia: Forsyth area -- URGENT NEED

 Click the button to apply:      Apply Now

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


Puppy Raisers provide the loving homes that care for our puppies until they are old enough to enter our certified training programs. 

  • No prior dog training experience is needed, as our Regional Puppy Advisors will support each volunteer raiser through the pup's upbringing and training milestones. 
  • We encourage raiser to provide common everyday socialization opportunities as well as exposure to new and diverse surroundings. 
  • They will also help teach the puppy basic obedience such as how to walk on a leash, sit, stay down, and to come when called. 
  • America's VetDogs covers the cost of all necessities for each pup, including veterinary care. The volunteer raiser is solely responsible for purchasing the pup's food.  
We focus on positive socialization, basic obedience, and molding ideal house manners during the puppy phase. The pup should accompany the raiser regularly outside of the home as he or she matures and ventures out on public outings. We also ask our raisers to take their puppy to basic obedience classes. The classes allow the puppy to interact with other dogs and gives the puppy raiser the opportunity to talk to other puppy raisers. 

When a dog is between 14-18 months of age, it returns to America's VetDogs campus in Smithtown, New York to move forward with its formal training and career as a guide or service dog. A few short months later, the pup will be specially matched with a veteran, active-duty service member or first responder with disabilities. 

All full-time puppy raising applications are submitted through the website of our sister nonprofit organization, The Guide Dog Foundation. Once you have completed your application through (link below) a member of our puppy department will connect with you on next steps. 

At this time, we are in need of full-time puppy raisers in Houston, TX - but are always seeking puppy raisers around the United States. 

 Click the button to apply:      APPLY NOW