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A new organization based out of Wayland, Michigan has allowed Detroit-area families to take in future assistance dogs and become foster puppy raisers.
Deb Davis, the community outreach manager of Wayland-based organization Paws With a Cause, says, “At Paws (With A Cause), we train service dogs for people with any number of physical disabilities- hearing dogs for the hearing impaired/deaf, seizure-response dogs for people with seizures and epilepsy and other disorders and we also train service dogs for families living with autism.”
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One of the substantial benefits to this program is that foster puppy raisers require no prior experience with dog training. While participating in the program, all these individuals have to do is open their doors to their assigned puppies, attend obedience classes, take them out to public places three times per week, and teach them basic obedience skills at home.
While in the foster care process, trainers must take care of the dog’s food, toys and medical care- however, Davis notes that these volunteers are more than up for the challenge: “These volunteers are phenomenal people that sign on to love, train and care for small, cute little puppies between the time they are 8 weeks old up to 18 months old.” Some trainers, like Andrea Dube, are on their 11th dog – she finds it a rewarding and fulfilling way to spend her days.
At the 18 month point, if their trainer has sufficiently trained them, they graduate into a kind of puppy college, where specialized training allows them to be more specifically attuned to their unique assistance dog tasks, such as seeing-eye dogs, trauma dogs, and more.
Up to 75 dogs a year are trained by Paws With a Cause, using the help of their dedicated and passionate volunteers. If you want to sign up or learn more, head to their official website.