'We had a bit of a baby boom': A dozen service dogs in training in need of temporary homes
An agency aimed at providing service dogs to those with disabilities and mental disorders is making a plea to the public to help foster 12 puppies for up to a year.
National Service Dogs (NSD) has two litters of 5-week-old labrador retrievers in need of new homes in the next three weeks.
“We had a little bit of a baby boom,” said Emma Bluhm, a communications officer with NSD. “[The litters] were actually born within three days of each other.”
The puppies-in-training will eventually go on to become certified service dogs for NSD clients with post-traumatic stress disorder or autism. Until then, NSD said the pups can stay with almost any caring volunteer – no matter their level of experience.
“We’re looking for homes that are able to provide a loving, safe environment and are willing to learn,” Bluhm said. “When you take in a puppy our staff is going to work with you to teach you everything you need to know to get these [puppies] well on their path as service dogs.”
After spending a year with their volunteer puppy raiser, the dogs will move to an adult raiser and begin their advanced service training. Once the dogs are matched with a client, Bluhm said they can make a lasting impact on the individual’s life.
“They can recognize anxiety attacks and come over and provide pressure therapy to help calm the individual down. Some of our autism dogs are also trained to keep the children safe,” Bluhm told CTV News.
The puppies are available to volunteers living in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph. NSD said the dogs need a loving home and plenty of activity to help develop their social skills.
“Getting them used to all the different sights, smells, sounds. We’re really looking for dogs that mature to be quiet, calm in public, and have great manners in the home,” Bluhm said.
National Service Dogs offers other opportunities for anyone interested in housing older service dogs as well as full litters.