Thanks for all your e-mails, comments and questions! In response, here is a list of frequently asked questions about being a volunteer puppy raiser:
Top 10 Questions & Answers:
1. The number one question I am asked: “Isn’t it difficult to give the puppy back?”
Yes, it is difficult to give the puppy back after spending 14-16 months getting to know her and raising her. But its also important to remember why raisers do what they do: to be a part of the process that will allow these dogs to go on and help others.
2. What are you paid by The Seeing Eye for doing this?
Puppy raising is completely voluntary; there is no pay involved. Raisers do receive a food allowance and all veterinary expenses are covered by The Seeing Eye. As a raiser, your remuneration is seeing your dog successfully complete the program and go on to help the visually impaired maintain a full and productive life.
3. Where does the puppy come from?
The Seeing Eye has its own breeding program. When the puppy is 8 weeks old, an employee from The Seeing Eye delivers the puppy to the raiser(s).
4. What is my responsibility?
I teach the puppy basic obedience, give her social exposure and lots of love. At bimonthly meetings for raisers (held in Toms River), Seeing Eye representatives have the opportunity to observe our pups. This gives them an opportunity to check the pups’ progress and assist in working through any problems which may arise. Raisers also attend the meetings to give the pups exposure to other dogs and people (to help prepare them for the world in which they will be working). Raisers do not teach the dogs to use a harness; that is accomplished by instructors at The Seeing Eye, when they return to the facility in Morristown for training.
5. How long do I have the puppy?
Until she is 16 – 18 months old.
6. Do all of the puppies become Seeing Eye Dogs?
No, not all of the puppies qualify for the program. Sometimes a medical condition or behavioral problem will prevent them from continuing. When the puppy is 16 – 18 months old she is returned to The Seeing Eye and evaluated by their staff.
7. What happens if the puppy does not qualify for their program?
She will be offered back to me for adoption. If I choose not to adopt her; she will be put up for public adoption through The Seeing Eye. Some of the dogs are also suitable for careers assisting law enforcement and are adopted, trained and employed by those agencies.
8. Is there a cost to adopt and what is the wait time?
This varies from time to time. If interested, contact The Seeing Eye or log on to www.seeingeye.org
9. What is the cost of a full trained Seeing Eye Dog?
Remarkably, individuals who qualify pay only $150.00! This is the same fee as at the very beginning of The Seeing Eye in 1929, when the first dog was placed with Morris Frank! The fee includes travel to The Seeing Eye facility in Morristown, New Jersey; the dog, the harness, training, and 4 weeks of room and board for the student.
10. Is my puppy allowed public access?
As I am not blind, and my puppy is not yet a fully trained dog guide, I am not covered by the same laws as a licensed service dog and must ask for permission before entering a public building. With advance communication and permission; many businesses are very accommodating when it’s understood the dog is visiting as part of its socialization and to acclimate it to the world in which he or she will be working.
Thanks, again, for all your e-mails! If you have a question on a specific matter I haven’t covered, please feel free to e-mail me at the address at the top of the page.