Tri-Valley Guide Dog Puppy Raisers
The Tri-Valley Guide Dog Puppy Raisers support Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. in their mission to provide enhanced mobility to qualified individuals through partnership with dogs whose unique skills are developed and nurtured by dedicated volunteers and a professional staff. We do this by providing puppy raising homes for young puppies and an opportunity for students and adults to contribute positively to their community. The puppies we raise go to work, school, shopping, and various public places thus greatly enhancing their socialization and training experiences. Club members are ambassadors for Guide Dogs for the Blind wherever they go.
The Guide Dog Mission
Established in 1942, Guide Dogs for the Blind continues its dedication to quality student training services and extensive follow-up support for graduates. Our programs are made possible through the teamwork of staff, volunteers and generous donors. Services are provided to students from the United States and Canada at no cost to them.
The Guide Dog Vision is to “use our Power of Partnering to improve quality of life.” To fulfill this vision we will:
- Commit ourselves to continuous quality improvement in all that we do;
- Assure exceptional canine health and well-being for all our dogs;
- Create the best potential for partnerships and support them;
- Develop and support Guide Dog teams of the highest quality;
- Be sensitive to the individualized needs of students, alumni and other constituents;
- Develop and nurture long-term relationships with our alumni, other constituents and the communities we serve;
- Optimize our use of resources.
We will be recognized in all that we do by our:
- Kindness toward people and animals, and respect for their dignity and well being;
- Inclusiveness and sensitivity to all, regardless of disability, ethnicity, or culture;
- Openness to innovation and change;
- Accountability for our actions and our resources;
- Teamwork and good communications;
- Supportive and trusting work environment;
- Honesty, integrity and fairness;
- Professionalism balanced with humor; and
- Continual work toward furthering the GDB mission.
The Human/Animal Bond
As defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association:
The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and other animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well being of both. This includes, but is not limited to, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, other animals, and the environment.
Membership is open to both youth and adults who have a deep love for dogs and who would like to help Guide Dogs for the Blind fulfill its mission.
There are a number of ways in which someone may be involved in the Tri-Valley Club. Initially, you are required to attend several meetings to learn about the club and the basic approved techniques for handling the dogs. Everyone is encouraged to participate by asking lots of questions.
After attending at least four meetings, new members will be asked to complete a Guide Dog for the Blind volunteer application. As a club volunteer, the new member is protected against personal liabilities by GDB general liability insurance and by the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997. All club volunteers must adhere to all GDB guidelines, policies and procedures provided with the volunteer application.
A home visit and fence check will also be scheduled and completed by the leaders after attending at least four meetings. Your completed application will be collected at the home visit and submitted to GDB.
After attending at least four meetings, a new club member can begin the puppysitting process. As a new club member, you are required to puppysit two different club dogs, for a minimum of three nights. You will need to show & demonstrate a minimum level of handling skills. Club leaders must approve all puppy sitting arrangements.
Caring for puppies of varying ages and with a range of behaviors over a period of time will provide the volunteer with the experience and knowledge necessary to make an informed decision about applying to be a puppy raiser. Puppy raisers need to be at least 9 years old – there is no age limit for adults. It takes the coordinated effort of an entire family to raise a guide dog puppy. Everyone in the family must agree to follow the rules and follow the structured training program. Regular participation in the club meetings is required of family members having day to day puppy raising responsibilities.
Co-raising, the raising of one puppy by more than one raiser, has been an alternative way for puppies to be raised. Working together, two different families or individuals share in the responsibilities of raising and socialization. To apply to raise a guide dog puppy, a Puppy Placement Questionnaire is completed and must be reviewed and approved by the club leadership and the Community Field Representative from Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The Tri-Valley Club conducts weekly meetings, which are held on Tuesday nights from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m, and are normally held in the Tri-Valley area (Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin).
Youth (under 18 years old) who are raising a puppy in their home must be accompanied by an adult parent/guardian at all meetings and outings. Special circumstances may be arranged in advance between the parent/guardian and club leaders (with written permission). Leaders at their discretion may require parents of other youth to attend meetings and outings as well. Puppies in training are required to attend at least 80% of the scheduled meetings and outings. Each co-raiser must attend at least 50% of scheduled meetings and outings. If a puppy raiser (or one of the co-raisers) is unable to attend a meeting, one of the leaders should be notified in advance and arrangements made for the puppy to attend the meeting or outing.
Puppy raisers with pups 5 months or younger are required to attend every club meeting and club function that is age appropriate for their current pup. Once the pup is over 5 months of age, the raiser is required to attend at least 2 meetings per month.
Puppysitters are required to attend at least two club functions per month.
Club volunteers are required to attend at least 1 club function every three months.
Supervision of Youth
Youth members can only be supervised by his/her parent/guardian, adult mentor, or one of the club leaders. If the parent/guardian cannot be in attendance, permission for the youth to attend must be received from one of the leaders. Adults who supervise youth other than their own children must meet the screening standards of Guide Dogs for the Blind. The required ratio of leaders to unaccompanied youth is 1 to 12 at meetings and 1 to 8 on outings. To insure the complete safety of all members, parents are strongly encouraged to make sure there is a club leader in attendance.
It is the responsibility of parents to arrange transportation of their children to meetings, outings and other functions. Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Tri-Valley Guide Dog Puppy Raiser Club bear no responsibility or liability for transportation to and from club events, meetings or outings.
It is recommended by the Tri-Valley Guide Dog Puppy Raiser Club that any person who has a dispute or conflict with another club member first attempt to resolve the conflict by speaking directly to the other individual in a courteous and productive fashion. If the concern is not resolved, it should immediately be brought to the attention of one of the club leaders. If a club member’s concerns are with club leaders, they and club leaders can look to the GDB Community Field Representative for advice and assistance. If a concern should arise regarding the GDB Community Field Representative, members are asked to contact the Puppy Raising Manager at GDB. To ensure cordial and productive membership club dynamics, GDB requires that this chain of communication be followed.
We’d love to hear from you.
Use our quick and easy to-fill out form.
Please allow up to 48 hours to hear back from us via email, although we strive to contact you as quickly as possible.
Guide Dogs for the Blind: www.guidedogs.com