My mom does not want a dog or cat, and i really love animals. I want to be a vet when i grow up. I would like to get involved in fostering and training dogs that i can keep for a while and then give them to someone in need. I already volenteer at my local shelter with kittens, but i am not old enough to walk the dogs at the shelter. My mom said she would train a dog or foster one. How do i get involved? I also worry about the kill shelters…it is not fair to the puppies! I would take all of them if they would not kill them. I live in NY fyi. How do i help them out and train them or foster them? Feel free to contact me if you want to. Thanks so much for the help and have a great day!


  1. Bambi

    You are such a sweetheart for wanting to foster a homeless dog. You can get involved by searching online for rescues in your area. If you are interested in a certain breed, such as labs (which are often used as seeing eye dogs), almost all rescues are begging for foster families. They always need more. You would keep the dog and try to get him adopted.
    If you want to get a dog that will be trained as a working dog for the handicapped, you usually get in touch with a volunteer organization that trains dogs for the handicapped. Usually, it takes 2 years for the dog to become a working dog. You would get a puppy or a rescued dog and you would be responsible for training him his basic manners the first year, then giving him to a trainer who trains him in the seeing eye/helper jobs. The best way to find these organizations is online. I bet there are tons in NY.
    I haven’t ever trained a seeing eye dog, but I foster dogs that are adopted,and it is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It’s so great to know you are helping a dog find the good home they deserve. Good luck!

  2. Kim J

    Stick with it!
    You need quite a bit to be a puppy raiser for the disabled. Here is a good place to start:…
    The entire family must be involved because it is a serious responsibility and a 24/7 job.
    In the meantime, study all you can about animals so that you can be prepared when the time is right to do something more involved.

  3. None

    Well, you sure are on the right track! I think it’s wonderful that you want to help dogs in need. However, some of them come with some major behavioral issues and other baggage as well. I had one here who could never be fully housebroken because he had permanent kidney damage from the beatings he suffered before I got him. I live in a place where I can have a dog like that but it would never work in a New York apartment.
    My recommendation is that you stick with the kitties for now and keep volunteering at the shelter. That way you will learn a lot about both dogs and cats before you take an animal into your home that might have problems you aren’t prepared to handle. You could also contact some of the rescue groups in your area and see if you can volunteer to work with them.
    Keep fighting the good fight. No one can save them all but sometimes we can save a few. Hugs!

  4. Julie A

    I would say foster a dog. I have two dogs. And I got them both from the pound. It is soo much fun to train them and also get to know them. Helping people are great too but I think fostering a dog will be easier and more fun!

  5. Perndar

    i dont have an answer for you but i think youre great for trying something like that. I always take in strays , train them and find homes for them.
    My dog hates it ( he gets jealous) but i cant help it

  6. frosted glass film

    I would suggest looking up the local obedience clubs in your area, so you can learn how to train and a bit more about dog behavior and training, and also research any local dog trainers in your area and see if they would take on summer interns (assuming you’re old enough to work).
    You can also do an internet search for “Dog rescue organizations” in your area and find out more. Some organizations specialize in one breed rescue, and it’s a good way to learn a lot about a specific breed from them.
    Also, you could try doing doggie day care at a Petsmart or seeing about interning at a vet’s office, too.
    You could also have your mom contact a guide dog or service dog school that need puppyraisers. That would be a lot of time commitment, and you do need to take the puppy to obedience classes and follow their rules, and puppies need somebody home during the day during the first 6 months.
    I’m glad you’re asking those questions! At your age I didn’t know who to ask and we didn’t have the internet then, either.
    I want you to learn about dog training and behavior, because it’s not easy picking the right dog for assistance dog work. Most trainers don’t really know much about temperament testing.
    Some shelters really do test their dogs, and that’s a good way to get a basic idea of temperament testing, but you need to learn from an experienced temperament tester. As you live in NY, The ASPCA has a really thorough program on temperament testing you could learn a lot from, I think.
    I think the best thing ever is to work with dogs that have the right temperament and also the dogs that don’t, so you know the difference.
    An assistance dog must have very low fearfulness and not be aggressive, be in good health (sound joints, no thyroid problems) because an sick dog can be more apt to fall apart emotionally and mentally. Low prey drive is preferable for program dogs.
    Beyond that, an assistance dog candidate can vary in intelligence, playfulness, personality, and energy level a lot.
    In general, high-energy dogs are not preferred for assistance dog work because they’re too much dog for most people. High energy dogs do excel as hearing ear or medical alert dogs, though and have good work ethic.
    I worry that sometimes by selecting for medium-low energy dogs, a program may accidentally select dogs that have hidden health problems or low work ethic.
    I trained my own hearing dog from a shelter rescue, and I picked the right dog for me after looking at over 12 dogs that were all wrong for me. I developed my own temperament test, and my impression was good. The shelter’s temperament test was given to me and we discussed how to train him.
    It takes a very strong person not to take every dog home just because they’re so deserving. It’s not fair to the dog to put it in a job it didn’t ask for if it’s not mentally or physically ready to do it.
    Of service dog candidates selected from a shelter, 2/3 that pass the first temperament test will wash out due to health or temperament problems that appear as the dog gets used to training and working.
    I was lucky to get it right on the first dog I picked. I had very high standards anyway, and as an owner-trainer I could work with a high-energy, one-person dog (which would wash out of a program), and in fact WANTED such a dog.
    If I was picking for another person– I have a friend who would like a service dog– I would pick a much more submissive, gentle, low-energy dog that is smaller, perhaps not quite as intelligent and doesn’t improvise so much.
    The reason being, this friend is not experienced with dogs, and she doesn’t need a dog that will figure out how to train HER instead of vice versa!
    And even then, you’ll have assistance dog trainers disagreeing on if a dog can make it as an assistance dog or not. Ultimately we don’t know what makes for success; we only know what will likely cause a dog to fail on the job.
    Good luck! Being an animal behaviorist and a vet is a worthy calling. If you want to know about animal behaviorists, check out
    I suggest learning about clicker training, dog psychology (Excel-erated learning by Pam Reid and others), and joining a few service dog usergroups.

  7. PwD-SD-Awareness

    I think that it’s a wonderful thing you want to do. Being that you are not old enough to walk the pups at the shelter and your mother said it’s ok to foster / train a pup. I would look into the various service dog/guide dog programmes. Many youngsters become puppy raisers. Preferably one that’s closest to you as you would have to go to their facility to get and drop the pup off. If you plan to foster/train a service dog it’s usually a good 12 to 15 months. Would your mother be so willing to have a pup in her home for that long of a time? Maybe shorter if the pup doesn’t work out. Also will you be willing as well as your family to follow their training procedure? You cannot go off the pathe and not do what the school wants. You got to be committed in such training especially if you want to teach service dogs in training for the disabled.

    If you fill this may not be the way to go then I would look at another path. Maybe one that you foster a shelter pup until they find a home. I know many shelters are doing this so the transition is higher then lower. Just some thoughts.

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