National Volunteer Week

Whelping Volunteers

National Service Dogs has a number of volunteers who support our breeding program. We have volunteers who help care for our dogs, we have volunteers host litters of puppies, and volunteers who support with training, socialization and care of our newborn pups. We would like to say Thank You to all of our volunteers who help at these beginning stages of our future life changes. Without you, it would not be possible to fulfill our mission.

Here is one of our amazing breeding program volunteers Deb and Sandy. Their family has put so much love and care into one of our breeders, Pebbles. They go above and beyond in their volunteering role, they have travelled to the United States to support our breeding program and cared for Pebbles and her first litter of puppies, the ‘K’ litter. Here is their story:

“We are Deb and Sandy and – with the help of our three sons Kevin, Patrick and Charlie – we are happy volunteers with National Service Dogs.

We volunteer because it is important for us to contribute: locally, nationally and globally. Our experiences with NSD have been wide-ranging; some rewarding and some very challenging. They have brought us many laughs and also some sleep deprivation. Let’s face it, we have dealt with a lot of poop. But our family motto is “Just because something is hard, that doesn’t mean you don’t do it!”

We love the fact that there are so many ways and levels of involvement. We have participated in lots of different kinds of activities: puppy raising, dog-sitting, transportation, fund raising, public relations, and more. We can contribute short-term, long-term, or both. We can offer a large commitment or a limited one. There are so many opportunities, and the staff at NSD is great to work with. They are always so grateful for our contributions.

Our most recent Grand Adventure in Volunteering was home whelping. Our 4 year-old black lab, NSD Pebbles, is a breeder and last summer she had her first litter of 8 pups. She delivered them here in our home with tremendous support from Caitlin Bonaldo, NSD’s Assistant Director of Canine Development.

We had the puppies for eight weeks. From Day One, we worked with them, following guidelines from Caitlin and the Early Neurological Stimulation program. Not gonna lie – taking care of nine dogs and two cats for two months was really tiring! We are retired, so we didn’t mind our world being upside down for a while. We rearranged our house and our lives for the summer, and we were reminded how much work newborns are. But there was so much joy! Friends, family and neighbours came by regularly to help socialize the puppies. Local firefighters came by, too. (They actually asked if they could come back again…twice!) We had several Puppy Parties and despite all the hard work, the rewards far outweigh the challenges. We knew we were contributing to something really special and that we were doing our part to help change people’s lives for the better. Pebbles did most of the work, anyway!

We are grateful to NSD for the opportunities and the support.”