National Service Dogs is a volunteer-driven organization. We’d like to take this day to thank the volunteers that help make our mission possible. In 2011, 561,000 hours of volunteer time were donated to NSD. This represents the same amount of hours worked by 270 full-time employees and a savings of over $5,000,000 for the organization. We have people helping us from the moment our puppies are born (and about 8 weeks before that) right until the point that they go home with their brand new families (and sometimes even beyond that!)
We start off with our volunteers that assist us with whelping (puppy birth). These people have a female dog in their home and go through the entire pregnancy and everything that goes along with it. Then, after about 8 weeks, the puppies are born and the real fun begins. These puppies often require around the clock care. The puppies remain in the Breeder Caretaker’s home for eight weeks after birth.
Next up are the Puppy Raisers. They receive their puppies at 8 weeks old and live with them until they are recalled for Advanced Training at our facility. This means the puppy raisers go through the not-so-fun part of a dogs life (for their owners at least!) They go through the housetraining, the chewed shoes, the accidents in public, the adolescent rebellious stage and everything else that goes along. Then, just at the point when their dogs are becoming angels, they are brought into Advanced Training. Many of our Puppy Raisers begin all over again – raising a new puppy at 8 weeks and continuing the cycle. Some of our Puppy Raisers have raised close to 10 dogs!
Once the dogs come into Advanced Training they also require some volunteer help. Every night, a team comes out to the kennel and walks, grooms and “read and relaxes” our dogs. This is a vital part of training and is essential to ensuring our dogs are comfortable around people. On the weekends, our dogs go out to volunteer homes to rest and relax. These volunteers come and pick up a dog on Friday afternoon and bring them back Sunday nights. They give them some love and lots of sleep and send them back ready for another week of intense training. They also allow us to see how the dogs do in a home environment, something that will be very important to their future companions!
We can’t forget about those that help us with the maintenance and administration of our organization. From cutting the grass to putting up news sheds to planting our beautiful garden, from folding pamphlets to stuffing donation envelopes to helping with our events a bookkeeping, we really couldn’t do it without them. They help our day to day operations run smoother and free up some time for us to do what’s most important: training dogs to go to deserving kids who need them and raising the money to do just that (and of course everything else that goes along with it!)
So we’d like to take this time to thank each and every one of our volunteers. We wouldn’t be able to do it without you! You make our lives a thousand times easier and it is thanks to you that we have found so much success over the past 16 years. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!
And thank you for reading our Dog Blog this week! We hope you’ve learned a lot about ADI, NSD and our dogs!