Hero Dogs relies on volunteers to fill a variety of roles. We seek those who share our passion for serving those who have served. A volunteer application must be submitted before you can volunteer. Volunteer applications are to be submitted by and for adults only (see our policy on youth volunteers below).
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Puppy raisers are responsible for raising, training, socializing, and loving the puppies in our program from the ages of approximately 2 months to 16-18 months of age. Puppy raisers must have a valid driver’s license, their own transportation, and must live within ~45 minutes of zip code 20833. To become a puppy raiser you must:
- Read the detailed information on the puppy raiser page.
- Fill out a volunteer application.
- Fill out a separate puppy raiser/puppy sitter application (a link will be sent to you after you fill out the volunteer application).
- Attend a puppy program orientation session (see the event list for the next scheduled orientation).
- Read the puppy raiser manual (a link will be sent to you after you attend orientation).
- Complete a home visit (will be scheduled after you attend orientation).
- Attend two hands-on dog handling training classes (will be scheduled after your home visit).
- Agree to abide by all of the rules for and responsibilities of puppy raisers.
- Volunteer as a puppy sitter at least once.
Puppy sitters are volunteers who cannot commit to full-time puppy raising, but are willing to take on the role of puppy raisers when a puppy needs temporary care (for example, when a puppy raiser has travel or another commitment to which they cannot bring their puppy in training). Puppy sitters must live within ~45 minutes of our facility. To become a puppy sitter, you must complete all of the same requirements as puppy raisers listed above.
Once approved, puppy sitters’ responsibilities include:
- puppy sit at least once every six months,
- maintain puppy’s house manners, training, exercise, and grooming routine,
- attend weekly training class if scheduled,
- buy and keep clean-up products/supplies on hand,
- take puppy to places where pet dogs are welcomed, and
- fill out “report card” on puppy’s visit and return to raiser when puppy is picked up.
Notes on Volunteering
After you complete the volunteer application, you will start receiving our newsletter to keep you updated about Hero Dogs news and opportunities. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
All potential volunteers should attend our Introduction to Hero Dogs presentation. This presentation is for anyone who is interested in learning more about Hero Dogs, whether as a service dog applicant, volunteer, donor, or other supporter. See the event list for the next session.
PLEASE NOTE: the nature of our program does not provide volunteer opportunities to simply play with the dogs. Volunteers who interact directly with the dogs are puppy raisers and puppy sitters.
Volunteers are not paid, but expenses incurred for volunteer service (e.g. mileage) may be tax deductible. Consult your tax adviser for details. Hero Dogs, Inc. is recognized as an exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Policy on Youth Volunteers
We do not have any volunteer opportunities available for people under the age of 18. Occasionally, there are volunteer activities in which children under 18 can participate under the direct supervision of a parent or responsible adult, such as certain events or fundraising activities. While puppy raising and puppy sitting can certainly be family projects in which children participate, an adult must be the primary raiser for a Hero Dogs puppy.