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What Service Dogs do when they aren’t working

 In General, Promotions, Service Dogs

We get the pleasure of sharing what our dogs are doing at the facility with us all throughout the week, but have you ever wondered what the dogs are up to on the weekends? We have wonderful volunteers who sign up to be “puppy parents” that welcome our dogs into their homes on weekends and weeknights so they can get some family time. This invaluable volunteer service gives our dogs a break from the working routine.  We provide our puppy parents with all the necessary supplies they need to help us raise our dogs. They share their adventures, stories, and photos with us and this wholesome interaction is extremely beneficial to the dog’s training because it helps them get socialized to new people, environments, and experiences.

Puppy parents are welcome to pick up their dogs on weeknights and take them home every weekend so the dogs can accompany the families on outings. This helps the dogs learn the ropes of living in a household outside of their normal training schedule. We sometimes also provide a “Service Dog in Training” vest that allows public access into areas where pets may normally be restricted (such as stores and restaurants). We provide puppy parent training in which we review the rules that the dogs must follow to ensure they stay on track to become a Service Dog. Our trainers keep in contact with the puppy parents in case of emergencies and to answer any questions they have while our dogs are in their care.

Adventures with our dogs

Our dogs get to tag along for grocery store trips, mall shopping adventures, weekends at the beach, camping trips, hiking, and more. Our dedicated puppy parents help prepare the dog for graduation by simulating what it’s like to work with a handler that isn’t their program instructor. Our puppy parents often do the working final with their dogs before the dog is placed with their Warrior. This helps us see how they respond to a handler that isn’t a dog trainer.

This is Reid. He is a service dog in training in San Diego. His puppy parents love taking him on family camping trips. He loves to swim in the lake, hang out in the tent with the kids, and go on hikes with the family.

#pphReid loves camping with his puppy parents
#pphReid loves camping with his puppy parents

Since our puppy parents play such a key role in raising our dogs, we love to include them in the official graduation ceremony where we pass the leash from our puppy parents to the dog’s new handler, a Warrior. This is Liberty, she had fantastic puppy parents that enjoyed taking her to the beach, hiking, and to art museums with the family. Being with Liberty’s puppy parents and the many field trips that she had helped prepare her up for being an amazing service dog. She graduated in August 2021 where her puppy parents got the overwhelming fulfillment of seeing Liberty’s new Warrior, Carlos, receive his new Service Dog that they helped raise.

#pphElma loves being a co-captain on the paddleboard!
#pphElma loves being a co-captain on the paddleboard!

How you can Help Raise a PPH dog

Puppy parents are such a special part of our dog’s lives and we couldn’t do it without them. They have assisted us in deploying 128 dogs in our 10 years of business. The dogs gain so much knowledge and experience while they go on all these outings and spend quality time with different people. This experience is perfect for families who would like an opportunity to make a difference in a Warrior’s life. Who wouldn’t mind spending time with an adorable four-legged friend part-time? If you are interested in helping us raise and shape these highly capable dogs, you can apply directly on our website or mail us your application. We also rely on the support of general volunteers for help around our facilities, proceeds from purchasing our American-made merchandise, and contributions from generous donors who support our mission to improve the lives of active duty Service Members and Veterans with service related trauma-related conditions and physical injuries.

#pphLiberty with her puppy parents on a family hiking trip
#pphLiberty with her puppy parents on a family hiking trip
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