Pepper is perfect, according to her foster mom, Cat Quintana of Medford, Oregon. Pepper is so perfect that DBL chose her to be the matriarch of a generation of service dogs.
“Pepper came to DBL as an 8-week-old puppy from another service organization,” Cat says. “Pepper is one of a kind; her personality is so sweet. So, there was a hard decision to make: would she be perfect for one client, or should they breed her to get more Peppers in this world?”
Cat is DBL’s volunteer caretaker of the organization’s only breeder dog. She went through extensive training to learn how to care for Pepper during pregnancy and the care and socializing of the puppies. Pepper has had two litters thus far, producing 17 puppies for DBL. The first
litter is in the final stages of training and will soon be going home with clients. The second litter lives with their puppy raisers.
Pepper will have one more litter, then she will retire and live her best life as a companion pet for the Quintana family.
“Taking care of the puppies is a big effort of time, love and lots and lots of cleaning,” Cat says. “But it’s rewarding, and it’s an honor to take care of these sweet babies.”
The training begins when the pups are only 3 days old. Cat and her family handle the puppies in specific ways to prepare them for their future work, especially as potential Autism Assistance Dogs. After eight weeks, the puppies move to foster homes.
“We do get attached to the puppies, but these amazing animals are going to do such great things, I’m excited to see them flourish,” Cat says.
It’s Puppy Love Month! Find out more about becoming a Puppy Raiser and other ways to get involved with DBL here.