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Frequently Asked Questions About Puppy Raising

What are the requirements to participate in the Fidelco volunteer puppy raiser program?
Ideal homes are those in which the entire family or significant others are enthusiastic about raising a Fidelco pup. Whether you are single or married, with or without children, live in a household with pets or a lack thereof, your home is an appropriate setting for a Fidelco puppy. You must have enough time to spend with your pup; including walking it, taking it out into the world and teaching it good manners. The duties can be shared with every member of the family.

What kind of puppies do you place?
We exclusively breed, train and place German Shepherd guide dogs because of their stamina, health, temperament and intelligence. And we love German Shepherds! Our puppies are continually evaluated from birth to give them the best possible chance to be successful as Fidelco guide dogs.

How old are the pups when they are placed with volunteer families?
Our pups are placed in puppy raiser homes when they are approximately eight weeks old. We do our best to match the pup and the family or individual to make sure that the experience is positive and rewarding for both.

How will I know what to teach the puppy?
We’ll be with you every step of the way! Fidelco’s program teaches and guides you on the concepts and practices of puppy rearing. You and your pup will attend Saturday classes at Fidelco. You will teach your pup good manners and expose it to a variety of situations designed to “socialize” the pup as it matures and becomes a Fidelco Guide Dog. Housebreaking, basic obedience, car rides, frequent walks and trips to public places are all part of your time together. We count on you to keep your pup safe by exercising it on a lead and by always providing supervision.

How long will I have the pup with me?
The pups are an average of 14 months when they enter formal guide dog training, but there are times when a puppy raiser may be asked to keep his or her pup for a longer period of time.

What happens when the puppy is returned to Fidelco?
You cry. But you have the comfort of knowing that you have helped prepare your pup for a lifetime of service. When the pup returns to Fidelco, it enters a six to nine month formal training program. Once the dog is placed with a Fidelco client, you are given a photo of the dog in a guide dog harness. You are also invited to participate in a graduation walk; one last visit with the dog you raised before it partners with a Fidelco client. If it is determined that a Fidelco dog is better suited for our breeding program or is unsuitable as a guide, Fidelco has sole judgment as to the dog’s final placement. We ask for your understanding in this decision.

Who is responsible for the costs associated with raising the puppy?
Fidelco has responsibility for worming, inoculations and other veterinary expenses. Healthcare is provided at our training center in Bloomfield, CT. We will supply you with a crate, a training collar and instruction. The puppy raiser assumes the cost of food that must be purchased at Fidelco. Expenses related to the care and raising of the pup are deductible to the extent allowed by law.

How do I apply for the program?
Simply fill out our online Volunteer Application and join us for our next Fidelco Insights.

We will review your application and contact you. Two visits to our Saturday classes, one home visit and attendance to one Fidelco Insights are required to be considered. The visits give us a chance to get to know one another and for you to see the pups, talk to the puppy raiser and ask questions.

If you have additional questions, please call us at 860-243-4802 or e-mail us at volunteer@fidelco.org. Thank you for your interest in the Fidelco Volunteer Puppy Raiser program.