Raise a Hero and Change a Life

You can give the ultimate gift to others this holiday season by becoming a service dog puppy raiser.

By | Posted: December 9, 2011 1 p.m, EDT

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 leader dog puppy with Sherrill Platt
At this time of year many of us are thinking about how we can give back and make a difference. Would you like to give a gift that will last a lifetime? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to raise a puppy to become a service dog?

Leader Dogs for the Blind, one of the nation’s top service dog organizations, needs people like you to join its efforts since 1939 to transform lives.

You don’t need to be a professional dog trainer. All you need is the willingness to commit about a year of time, labor and resources, and your love for a dog.  

What are the payoffs for being a puppy raiser? You might be surprised by the answer.

“I have met the most wonderful people, going places and doing things with our puppies,’’ says Sherrill Platt, a medical technologist in Oak Park, Mich., who has been raising puppies for Leader Dogs for the Blind since 1995.

future service puppies
Leader Dogs, based in Rochester Hills, Mich., has puppy counselors throughout the Mideast who organize monthly meetings, outings and training sessions, so all the puppy raisers get together for social events. “Prior to raising puppies I didn’t have a very active social life—now I go to the movies, sporting events, the theater, etc., all the time on puppy outings.’’

Platt, who has raised 17 puppies, enjoys the social connections and the reaction from everyday people. “I love meeting new people and when you’re out with a puppy a lot of people want to talk to you and ask about the dog’s “Future Leader Dog” bandana. Often, when I’m walking with my puppy, passers-by say “God bless you for what you do.”

But the biggest payoff is training a dog and changing the life of a blind person, giving them a chance at independence. “The appreciation we receive from the people who are blind that use Leader Dogs makes me stand up a little straighter. I do this because it makes me feel good; it makes me proud of what I do.’’

Learn more about what is involved in being a puppy raiser, here.

See a video about how a guide dog provides mobility, safety, independence and a new world full of possibilities, becoming the eyes on the world for a blind person, here

Contact Leader Dogs for the Blind today. Call 888-777-5332 or visit their website.

Ernie Slone is editor of DOG FANCY magazine and DogChannel.com.

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Ernie Slone, Dog Fancy   Mission Viejo, CA

12/12/2011 8:45:20 AM

Shirley, thank you for sharing that, and for giving back in such a wonderful way.

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Shirley   Warren, MI

12/10/2011 12:51:49 PM

I have raised seven puppies for Leader Dog and these were some of the happiest times of my life. My pups have gone to places like Spain, Canada, Pennsylvania, Louisanna, Michigan, and Venzuella. I recommend the job to anyone who loves dogs and wants to help others live fullfilling lives.

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Jo Ann   Lodgepole, NE

12/10/2011 8:44:08 AM

Wonderful article! Great people and great dogs!

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Galadriel   Lothlorien, ME

12/9/2011 7:46:55 PM

What a great idea.

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