Today, the Daily News runs a super-heartstring-tugging story about the troubles facing Canine Companions for Independence, a Long Island-based organization that trains dogs to help disabled people. In a nutshell, Companions can't find any volunteers to help raise the dogs while they're still puppies. Heartstrings!
"We have a long waiting list for trained dogs and no waiting list for people wanting to raise the puppies," said Ellen Torop, program manager at Canine Companions. Why wouldn't you want to take an adorable bundle of furry joy in for a temporary period?! Volunteers are asked to house, feed, and help train the dogs until they're two years old, at which point the pups are paired with a disabled person and begin their career. Here are some totally aww-inducing first-hand reports of what it's like to actually raise the pups.
One Manhattan professor who lives in a studio apartment told the News that city-dwellers can take on the responsibility, too. "People who need these dogs often live in the city," said Anthony Kozberg, who's raised six puppies for the program. "It's an incredible lesson for kids and adults ...to give a dog away that you have loved and cared for in order to help someone else," Torop said. And it's perfect for commitment-phobic pet lovers who can't sign up for a 15-year relationship just quite yet.
We're currently awaiting more information about the specifics of becoming a volunteer puppy parent, but in the meantime, you can call CCI at (800) 572-BARK (2275) or go to cci.org for more information.