Considering switching puppy raising organizations?
As every person who has raised a service dog puppy knows, puppy raising is a big decision. Selecting an organization to raise for is another big decision and it is completely acceptable to switch raising organizations to find the best fit.
Switching puppy raising organizations often has a stigma attached to it, but as a volunteer, some needs may vary and there will be an organization that inevitably fits the needs best. There are many reasons for switching organizations, some may be to gain more variable experience, an individual may move out of the area of their original organization, or someone may just be looking for a change.
The Pawsible website contains extensive resources that can help you investigate other volunteer opportunities with puppyraising organizations including maps, organization profiles, contact info, and more.
Deciding to Switch
It can be somewhat overwhelming to determine if you should switch puppy raising organizations, and even more of a challenge to figure out how to do so. It is always advisable to do what feels the best, but here are a few questions to get your thoughts oriented if you are considering switching organizations.
Do you feel valued and appreciated for the work you are doing with your current organization?
If you were to make a “Pros and Cons” list about your experience with your current organization, do the Pros outway the Cons?
Would you recommend your current organization to friends or family members interested in puppy raising?
These are just a few questions to get you started if you are considering a switch. Before you select a new organization to work with, consider speaking with other puppy raisers to ask about their experience.
Choosing a New Organization
If you are not sure where to start when trying to search for information or how to strike up a conversation, consider what priorities are important to you.
Does the organization charge clients to obtain service dogs?
What level of financial support does the organization offer puppy raisers? Are veterinary expenses covered?
Is there an active/accepting raising community? Are any clubs/chapters near you?
Is the raiser responsible for traveling to pick up and turn in the puppy?
Will the dog stay intact or at what age will it require spay/neuter?
What training methods does the organization use?
How long do you have the puppy in training for?
What level of recognition does the organization give to puppy raisers?
Is there a graduation celebration?
How much time commitment is required, and how many behaviors are you responsible for training?
What are your options for puppy-sitters?
Some groups may also let you sit in on meetings/classes so you can assess the atmosphere and ask any questions you may have. Another great option if you are able, is to start by puppy-sitting dogs with an organization to get a feel for if they will be a good fit.
Saying Goodbye to your Old Org
There is more than one way to discontinue volunteering with your current organization. Whether you might just want a break from what is familiar or you are ready to move on entirely, it is up to you to determine how you want to leave the experience behind. If you want to leave the door open and potentially raise for the organization again, you can thank them for the opportunity you had and explain that you are looking to try something new.
Switching organizations can be a challenging endeavor. Regardless of the reasons you have for switching organizations, it is a valid choice that can be made only by you. Resources are available to help with the transition and whatever you decide, you’ve got this!