top of page

Pawsible Awards Fall Scholarships to Volunteer Puppy Raisers | Press Release, August 2022

In October 2021, Pawsible launched the first-ever scholarship for volunteer puppy raisers volunteering with any assistance dog organization. The Pawsible Academic Puppy Raiser Scholarship (“Pawsible Scholarship”) is Pawsible’s newest program providing academic financial support to student volunteers raising future assistance dogs.

Pawsible received over 50 applications from volunteers of 11 different assistance dog organizations and 44 different colleges. The following exceptional student puppy raisers were awarded the Fall 2022 Pawsible Puppy Raiser Scholarships:

A female puppy raiser sits in the grass holding a black lab puppy in a yellow and blue vest.

Avonlea Allred

Canine Companions

A.S. Sociology

Salt Lake Community College

"When I was little, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. While most kids had dreams of being a veterinarian-ballerina-astronaut, I patiently waited for my passion to find me. From the second I learned of service dogs, I knew I had found my calling. I'm 22 now and working with service dogs is still the one thing that I feel called to. While I have learned much about working with both people and animals through school, continuing education programs and certificates, and internships, puppy raising has ultimately remained the one consistent thing tying me to that dream, making me a better and more empathetic handler, connecting me to this warm and welcoming community, and helping me grow from this dream from a hobby to a career."

A female puppy raiser sits on a bench with a black lab in her lap.

Karissa Barth

Paws Giving Independence

B.S. Actuarial Science

Illinois State University

"After graduating I am pursuing the career of an actuary, which has opportunities all over the country. I haven't decided where I want to end up yet, but I do know that I would love to continue puppy raising and being a part of an organization like Paws Giving Independence. I have noticed that puppy raising has changed what I look for in a company. I pay a lot of attention to the community culture, their inclusivity, and opinions on volunteerism. I want to work for a company that holds the same values as I do, and puppy raising has greatly impacted what I value and look for. Puppy raising has impacted my school, work, and social life. I find myself having more patience with myself and with others. I am able to find different approaches to tasks for myself and when tutoring others. I am aware that breaking or creating a habit takes consistency and dedication. I feel that puppy raising has greatly impacted the direction of my life's path as it has changed the way I see the world."

A female puppy raiser stands on a lawn in front of a house holding a black lab puppy.

Jenna Warner

Susquehanna Service Dogs

B.S. Biology (Animal Behavior)

Millersville University

"Puppy raising combined my love for animals, my interest in behavior, and my ultimate desire to do something more, by working to improve the livelihood of individuals with disabilities. Over the past 3 years of being involved with Susquehanna Service Dogs, my knowledge of dog behavior/temperament, dog handling, and training strategies and skills have increased tenfold. I also carry a much deeper sentiment and empathy for individuals who require the assistance of service dogs and feel connected to so many people I have luckily been able to meet through my volunteering. Following my graduation, I hope to pursue a career working with service dog training, while hopefully continuing to raise as well."

A female puppy raiser stands on the sidewalk in a blue dress with a yellow lab service dog in training sitting at her side.

Morgan McCree

Southeastern Guide Dogs

B.S. Biology

Georgia Southern University

"I plan to continue raising up until I go to vet school and then have plans to return to puppy raising again once I finish vet school. Since 10th grade, I've had the dream to open up my own practice that focuses on exotic and aviary medicine....a clinic that is similar to Dr. Susan Kelleher's (from "Dr. K's Exotic ER") in South Florida where she ONLY sees exotics and birds with special exemptions for dogs or cats she personally knows. Once I found out how few vet clinics offer discounted services for puppy raisers and their service dog organizations in Georgia, I also made the decision to mimic Dr. Kelleher's business practice where I focus on avians and exotics, but also only see service dogs and SDiTs. I plan on puppy raising until I'm financially unable to do so, and it would be crass for me to be a puppy raiser whilst owning a vet clinic, and still not offering discounted/free services for SDs and SDiTs. Without being a Puppy Raiser, this thought would've absolutely never crossed my mind."

A male puppy raiser lays on the ground next to a yellow lab.

Nikolai Czepiel

Canine Companions

B.A. Linguistics

University of Pittsburgh

"I will say that puppy raising has thrown a curveball into my future plans. At the start of last fall semester, I thought I had everything figured out: I would study abroad in my junior year and graduate and go to Korea to teach English. Simple, straightforward, and easily planned out. Then STEP@Pitt came along and rocked my entire world. Quite literally my worldview shifted. I became so much more aware of my surroundings and how they impacted people as well as how I could impact people. The biggest thing, though, was finding out that Canine Companions gave the service dogs to people in need for free. I never thought about what a service dog might cost, but the answer is several thousands of dollars. I know I sure couldn’t afford that and so many others are in similar situations to me and they couldn’t afford that either. Something as simple as a dog to help level the playing field is virtually unobtainable for so many. It was then, that I knew my life needed to change. By getting involved with STEP@Pitt, I stopped focusing so much on myself and started focusing on the world that I lived in. And that made me feel so much happier and better about what I was doing. Now, I still have plans to go to Korea eventually, but I don’t know when that will happen. What I do know is that I can never step away from puppy raising. And I wouldn’t want to."

Pawsible is proud to grant $2,500 in academic scholarships to each of these puppy raisers.

Interested student volunteer puppy raisers can apply for the Spring 2023 scholarship opening in October.

About Pawsible

Pawsible is a nonprofit founded in 2019 to support volunteer puppy raisers financially and as a community. We help change lives by supporting the individuals and organizations helping to provide assistance dogs to those with disabilities.

Media Contact:

(301) 458-0012

39 views0 comments


bottom of page