Become a Puppy Raiser

Our Puppy Raiser program brings people of all ages together, creating a community of caring and hardworking puppy raisers. We look for potential puppy raisers who are willing to dedicate their time to help us build a solid foundation for these future Assistance Dogs.

Our puppy raisers receive a puppy at eight (8) weeks of age and continue to raise the puppy until it is between 14 to 16 months of age. During their time raising, they attend basic obedience classes with their puppies. They also go on public outings to expose the puppies to a multitude of different environments. After the year of raising and training, the puppies are ready to return to Dogs for Better Lives to begin their next step towards becoming an Assistance Dog.

Our puppy raisers are integral to what we do. We are just as committed to them as they are to our organization, and together we create a community dedicated to helping others. As we continue to grow as an organization, so will the rapidly increasing need for puppy raisers. The more dogs we rescue or puppies that are raised, the more people we can serve.

We currently place puppies with volunteer raisers in the following areas:

  • Southern Oregon
  • Greater Seattle, WA (Puget Sound)
  • California (Northern region)
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington DC
  • West Virginia

Thinking of helping us change lives? Apply today!

Puppy Raisers should –

  • Have no more than two dogs, and they must be over two years old.
  • Have the ability to attend all puppy classes.
  • Be willing to learn from our trainers and use our methods of training.
  • Have the time to dedicate to raising a foster puppy.
  • Have patience and understanding.
  • Have experience raising a puppy, and be knowledgeable in common puppy behaviors such as chewing, digging, barking, etc.
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Become a Breeder Caretaker

Breeder caretakers open their heart and home to a purpose-bred dog from Dogs for Better Lives’ breeding program. Enjoy the companionship of a well-mannered Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, or a cross of the two and help bring future generations of assistance dogs into the world to one day change someone’s life.

As a caretaker, you will assist in whelping puppies and play a large role in raising and socializing puppies until they are old enough to transition into their raiser homes. When breeder dogs are ready to retire, they are spayed or neutered and most are adopted by their breeder caretaker family.

We currently place breeder dogs in the following areas:

  • Southern Oregon
  • Greater Seattle, WA (Puget Sound)
  • Northern California
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire

Thinking of helping us change lives? Apply today!

Get Started

Foster a Dog

If you live in Oregon, Washington, California, New Hampshire or Massachusetts, you can foster a dog through our TAG Program! Fostering is a great way to help our dogs through various stages of their stay with Dogs for Better Lives. We have three types of fostering available for our dogs: before, during, and after their time in professional training. (An additional option is helping assist us by transporting dogs and puppies between our satellite offices in Washington and California and our West campus in Southern Oregon or from New Hampshire and other areas in the Northeast to our campus in Falmouth, Massachusetts.)

Before training, newly recruited dogs from a shelter or rescue benefit from a transitional home to start learning appropriate behaviors and ease into working-dog life. The timeframe for transitional fostering is typically two to 4 weeks.

During a dog’s time professional training at our facility, some find the kennel environment stressful. You can assist these dogs by providing a short-term home so that they can continue to become a certified Assistance Dog. The timeframe for this category varies between three weeks to 3 months.

Giving our Career Change Dogs a temporary home while they wait for adoption can make all the difference in their future as a loving family pet. The duration for this type of fostering is about one to 2 weeks, and requires flexibility to transport dogs to the DBL facility for meet-and-greets with potential adopters.

Why fostering is right for you:

  • You can make an important contribution to Dogs for Better Lives by helping our dogs be the best they can be!
  • You are willing to communicate with our staff and have the patience and desire to work with a young, active dog in our program.
  • Dogs for Better Lives is responsible for all veterinary care of the dog.
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Leave a Legacy

We wanted our donation to be growing and sustaining, even if it’s not a tremendous amount.

You can help further the work of Dogs for Better Lives by simply becoming a member of our Guardian Society and naming us in your will or trust. Here are some of the many benefits of bequest giving:

  • It costs you nothing today
  • A bequest is free of federal and estate tax
  • Your bequest can be changed later
  • You can still benefit your heirs with specific gifts
  • You can leave a legacy through a bequest

Talk with your estate planner about the types of assets to leave to your family that can produce little or no tax. Then consider making a bequest of your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to Dogs for Better Lives. We will receive the full proceeds free of tax and can use this gift to help further our mission.

Please contact your plan custodian to designate us as a beneficiary of your IRA. For more information, please contact Wanda Cockey, Major Gifts and Grants Specialist at (541) 423-8385 .

Get Started

National Ambassadors

Volunteer opportunities where YOU live! We are seeking volunteers that would like to help promote Dogs for Better Lives (DBL) through fundraising events, interviews, promotions, festivals, and social media.

Ambassadors serve as representatives of DBL in their local area/region. They give presentations to a variety of groups telling them about our special work. Ambassadors are entrusted with the responsibility of representing DBL in a professional manner and raising the awareness of our mission and programs.

Ambassadors also have the unique opportunity to conduct applicant interviews where they have the opportunity to meet with prospective clients on a personal level. As an Ambassador Interviewer, you will perform and record the interview for DBL. Functioning in this capacity for the organization allows you to meet the people we serve and save the organization a considerable amount of funds. On average, an interview carried out by an Ambassador saves DBL 65% over a staff-performed interview.

  • Table a booth and/or present at a local school, community event, or conference
  • Participate in and promote DBL volunteer opportunities and peer-to-peer fundraisers
  • Promote DBL with your local community groups (Lions, Good Sam Clubs, Kiwanis, Rotary, 4-H Club…)
  • Organize a local fundraising event benefitting Dogs for Better Lives

To learn more about where our current Ambassadors volunteer their time and outreach to their respective communities across the U.S., visit our online Impact Map.

Apply to Become Ambassador

Volunteer at DBL

Kennel Volunteer

Do you live in Southern Oregon? We are always looking for dedicated people to spend time at our Central Point, Oregon facility with our dogs in training to supervise them at play, take them for walks, and simply spend one-on-one time.

We only ask that volunteers be willing to commit to a minimum of two hours per week for at least one year. After a brief interview with our volunteer coordinator where we can get to know you and answer any questions that you may have about volunteering, we will set you up for an orientation.

After orientation, all volunteers will go through the Kennel Volunteer Training Program consists of one day a week for 4 weeks. After you’ve received your training, your time here will be spent giving lots of love and attention to our dogs and assisting staff as needed.

Apply to become a Kennel Volunteer

Office Volunteers

Utilize your unique skills to help make a vital impact on Dogs for Better Lives’ mission through our Local Volunteer program. We are seeking office volunteers to assist with data entry, updating records, and many other office projects. We will set a schedule based on your availability to work with our team on site on our computers.

Essential requirements are:

  • Intermediate to advanced computer skills in Microsoft Teams, Word, and Excel
  • Some knowledge of databases and data entry
  • Customer service skills and comfortable speaking on the phone
  • Detail-oriented
  • Candidates must be 18 years old or older and have available hours Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Must provide own transportation
  • Excellent penmanship a plus
Apply to become an Office Volunteer

Become an Alliance Partner

At Dogs for Better Lives, we believe it’s an honor to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, as do our Alliance Partners. This special group of shelters, rescues and fellow Assistance Dog organizations support DBL’s mission – and thanks to these valuable relationships – DBL maintains our commitment to provide professionally trained Assistance Dogs to people throughout the U.S.

Rescue Assistance Dog Alliance

Members of the Rescue Assistance Dog (RAD) Alliance recognize that some very special rescue dogs are not only capable of being wonderful pets, but some can even grow to change a person’s life as professionally trained Assistance Dogs. Once these special dogs are transferred to DBL’s campus, they receive premium care and training to allow them to reach their fullest potential and go on to loving homes with a purpose.

Join our RAD Alliance partners to help us obtain special rescue dogs with the promise of becoming professionally trained Assistance Dogs. Contact us to learn more about this life-changing program.


Share Your Story

puppy shaking paws

Has Dogs for Better Lives made your life better? Do you want to share your story with potential donors, partners and clients? Submit your story to be included in an upcoming publication.

Share Your Story

Schedule a Tour

Dogs for Better Lives is committed to the health and well-being of our staff, clients, volunteers, and visiting public. With that in mind, we have implemented safety precautions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and are limiting visitors to our national campus in Central Point, OR.

At this time, we have placed our public tours program on hold. Only those guests with a prearranged invite from a staff person, will be admitted on DBL’s campus.

We are continuing to monitor our need for this restriction and thank you for your understanding. Please continue to check back on our website for the latest developments.