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Change Lives, One Puppy at a Time

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.

How it works

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 are now accepting Puppy Raisers from all across the United States, except Alaska and Hawaii!

Thinking of helping us change lives? Apply today!

Puppy Raisers should –

  • Be willing to attend puppy classes regularly.
  • Be willing to learn and follow DBL’s puppy raising policies and procedures.
  • Have the time to dedicate to raising a foster puppy.
  • Have patience and understanding.
Learn more and apply

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 are now accepting Breeder Caretakers from all across the United States, except Alaska and Hawaii!

Thinking of helping us change lives? Apply today!

Get Started

Foster or Transport a Dog

Our team of foster and transportation volunteers make a big impact on our Assistance Dog Programs, helping our dogs through various stages of their Assistance Dog training journey. Sometimes our dogs need a short-term foster home before, during, or after training. Other times a dog will need a ride to another location to begin training on campus or to be handed off to another volunteer or staff member.

Fosters and transportation volunteers must be 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.

We are currently seeking volunteers for fostering and transportation in the following states:

  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • California
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Ohio
  • Texas – Dallas/Fort Worth (click here)

Foster Volunteer Opportunities

  • Foster a dog from a shelter prior to formal training. 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. Fostering dogs prior to training usually lasts between 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Foster a dog in training. Some dogs in training 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. Fostering dogs in training typically lasts between 3 weeks to 3 months.
  • Foster a dog that has been career changed. 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 meetings with potential adopters.
  • Temporarily foster a puppy. When a puppy raiser goes on vacation, our puppy needs a place to stay where they can continue to learn good behaviors and have new experiences. The duration for this type of foster is anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks.

Transportation Volunteer Opportunities

  • Transport dogs/puppies. Help DBL by transporting dogs and puppies between our satellite offices, partner organizations, puppy raisers and our main campuses. The time commitment is typically between an hour or two and a full day, depending on the distance the dog needs to travel.
Get Started

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

Schedule a Tour

Dogs for Better Lives welcomes visitors with pre-scheduled appointments for tours of our training campuses.

If you would like to inquire about a tour, please send an email using the links below:

Please note: Only individuals and groups with prearranged visits can be accommodated.

West Training Campus Tour

Northeast Training Campus Tour

Regional Advisory Board

DBL’s Regional Advisory Boards (RAB) are comprised of like-minded individuals that share a passion for dogs and giving back to people with disabilities in their communities.  Members are responsible for marketing the mission of DBL, participating in outreach events, as well as planning and fundraising through a variety of initiatives.

Active Young Professionals Boards:

  • RAB, Pacific Northwest
  • RAB, Northeast
  • RAB, California
Learn more

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

Operation Kindness Foster

Do you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and believe in the ability dogs have to change lives? Do you want to be a part of changing the lives of dogs and people? Look no further, we have an opportunity for you! 

Foster Homes 

Assistance Dog Fosters at Operation Kindness help shelter dogs have a second chance at a life-changing career as a Service Dog for someone in need. Fosters are instrumental in our efforts to rescue dogs and help more people. 

Fosters commit to hosting, loving and training the selected dog for up to seven months as the dog goes through its entire training program. The length of time varies from dog to dog. 

Fosters must: 

  • Be willing to support the dog’s training. 
  • Communicate with the trainer on how the dog is doing 
  • Allowing an Assistance Dog trainer in their home to work with the dog. 
  • Be open to training tips (positive reinforcement only). 
  • Have well-behaved dogs at home, or no dogs. 
  • Provide a loving home-life for the dog while in foster care. 
  • Build the dog’s confidence. 
  • Expose the dog to new experiences and sounds.

If interested, fill out our interest sheet with your contact information and we’ll reach out when we’re ready to get started.  


Prison Puppy Program

Dogs for Better Lives is excited to introduce our new Prison Puppy Raising Program! This innovative program brings together individuals with an interest in raising puppies and prepares them to become future Service Dogs for people with disabilities.  

The Program
Dogs for Better Lives is working with correctional institutions in Ohio to help raise puppies for our program. In this unique program, incarcerated handlers raise and train puppies who will one day work as Service Dogs. Our staff teaches the incarcerated handlers to work with the dogs using positive reinforcement training techniques and general obedience skills that lay the foundation for future Service Dog training at one of DBL’s training campuses.  


Canine Copilots

Join us in changing lives, one flight at a time.

Fly a future Assistance Dog through our Canine Copilots program.

Welcome to DBL’s Canine Copilots, where you can change lives, one flight at a time. Fly a future Assistance Dog and play an important part in making independence possible for people with disabilities.


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
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