What It’s Like To Raise A Service Dog

Written by: 
Samantha Epstein

There is one question that all puppy raisers are asked: how can you raise a puppy just to give it to someone else? It is a hypothetical question, and here is how we answer it. We don’t close our hearts off - that is impossible. We don’t claim it will be easy – it is not. One thing we certainly do, however, is just accept the experience for what it is. We know from the beginning that this isn’t about us. We are choosing to surrender to the cause. Throughout the experience, we try our very best to care for the dog without getting too involved. But, that doesn’t happen. Both parties become emotionally attached.

We dedicate time to exposing the puppy to places and situations that he will learn from. Taking a puppy to the grocery store with a kid in tow and a long list of items to pick up isn’t always easy. It is very much hard work. We puppy-proof our homes and ensure that the canine is healthy and happy. We teach the puppy basic obedience and commands. There are many laughs, sighs, and eye-rolls along the way. It is all so worth it.

We often worry about how the puppy will adjust to life in the kennels. Will the dog succeed in his final training? And, of course, We wonder what his warrior will be like. Near the end of the experience, We are excited yet dreadful about the day when we have to give the dog back to K9s For Warriors. We get emotional when that day arrives. Time passes and if we are lucky enough, we hear that the dog got matched to a warrior. Graduation day arrives, and we beam with pride and feel wonderful about the mission we completed. That is what it’s like to raise a puppy for K9s.

K9s For Warriors Puppy Raising Class

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