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As part of our Puppy Love Month campaign, we asked some of our Puppy Raisers to write a letter to their puppy’s future handler, sharing a snapshot of all the work (and love) that goes into future Assistance Dogs. Donna is currently raising Orion, and recently shared a letter with us.

Puppy raisers help build strong foundations for our puppies who have the potential to become future Assistance Dogs. By raising a puppy for Dogs for Better Lives, you will become a part of a team dedicated to helping others. Changing the life of a family in need to live a more independent lifestyle with the help of the assistance dog you helped raise.

Interested in becoming a Puppy Raiser? Visit our Puppy Raising page for more information or to apply.

To: Orion's Future Person/Handler
From: Puppy Raiser Donna & Puppy in Training, Orion

Dear Orion’s Future Owner/Friend, 

My Name is Donna and I wanted to let you know about the wonderful service dog you have received, Orion.  I have had Orion since he was 3 months old and will continue to raise him until he is 14-15 months old.  He will then go on to train with the highly skilled certified trainers at Dogs for Better Lives to learn the specific skills needed to help you live a safe, secure and independent life. 

I feel so honored to have been a part of helping Orion grow into the best dog he can be. He is a wonderful lab who always wants to please, except those teenager months where he was just as awful as my own 2-legged teenagers.  Orion was rebellious, had selective hearing and had the notorious mindset of “I will do it my way!”  Thank goodness it was a short phase!  😊 

When he first came to live with me he was the cutest blond bundle of fur who loved to sleep a lot, endlessly chase his tail and would eat just about anything he could find on the ground.  He has come a long way in just the short time I have had him!  He has learned all the basic commands of sit, down, stay, heel, leave its and settling. He still has some work to do around settling, but he is getting there.   

One of his favorite past times is playing with my sister’s dogs and his DBL buddies.  Just so you know, he is very good with other dogs and children too.  Orion loves the great outdoors, playing in the surf at the ocean, hiking on the Oregon trails, frolicking in the snow covered mountains, and even kayaking in our local lakes.  And after all that play, you would always find Orion curled up on his dog bed snoring (big time snoring) and dreaming of his adventures for the day. 

Orion has been a joy to raise and I know that he is going to enrich your life with not only his wonderful life-saving skills, but also with his snuggles, doggie kisses and his warm and loving heart! I will miss him terribly but so very happy and proud he will be there for you to help ease your way through life. Enjoy Orion and give him my love! 

Wishing you the very best,                                                                                                                              Donna 

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