Are you a middle school or high school student who loves animals and looking to volunteer? Canine Companions for Independence might be the fit for you. During the 2014-15 school year, four Treasure Valley high school teens trained Labrador retrievers from eight weeks old until about 18 months old. Canine Companions is an organization that trains highly skilled assistance dogs for people with disabilities other than blindness.
Nampa Christian High School 2015 graduate Kylie Gish and her family have raised five dogs since she was in the sixth grade. As part of the training, Kylie would take the dogs to school to have interactions with people.
“It’s a great environment for the dog and for the students to learn why I’m doing this,” Kylie said. “This is a way my family helps out the community and it’s a great feeling.”
Canine Companions will accept a co-raiser at the age of 12 years old. Dogs are only allowed to go to school with a student if they are at least 15 years old and approved by the school district. The wait time for a new puppy raiser is about nine months.
“The students learn the joy of selflessly giving a gift to another person whose life will be changed by these exceptional dogs,” said Jan Peterson, a volunteer with Canine Companions. “It is not easy to send the puppies off to college at the end of their puppy raising experience, but learning that it’s for a bigger purpose is life changing.”
For more information on how to get involved and become a puppy raiser click here.