Volunteers are the backbone of SDWR, with the generous support of people like you we are able to achieve so much. Volunteers serve in essential positions both within the organization’s day to day routine and in many events, fundraisers, and other ways. With your help, SDWR can continue it’s mission to provide therapeutic support and independence to those with invisible disabilities all over the world.
Current Volunteer Opportunities
By becoming a volunteer annual ambassador, you can help bring families with disabilities therapeutic relief and peace of mind that comes with a highly-skilled service dog.
Breeding Stock Host
The success of our future service dogs is largely due to the generosity of volunteers who host our specially selected breeding dogs.
Our Puppy Raisers Program are volunteer families who agree to welcome a service dog into their home.
"When I was 8, I meet my first service dog in training. I was flying to Charlotte, NC after visiting my grandparents in Seattle, Washington when a puppy and his raiser were on my same flight. While I knew I could not pet, I continuously watched from a safe distance until I worked up the courage to talk to the raiser. For a few months after that encounter I told everyone I knew that I was going to train service dogs when I grew up.
Then over the past couple of years I faced my own health challenges. I no longer underestimate being able to perform simple day to day tasks on my own. While I can live normally again with medication, I know there are people out there that don’t get a simple cure. When I found out that there was program with SDWR on Wake campus I knew that I needed to give back."
– Ellen & Puppy, Stone
"I am a middle school special education teacher and have seen tremendous growth from my former students when they had assistance from their service dogs. I joined this fantastic organization as a puppy raiser after my school participated in the DC Autism walk. Being able to take my service dog in training to work with me has helped many of my current students learn how to interact with a service dog and gain confidence to do more things independently."
– Ashley & Puppy, Jack
"I wanted to be a puppy raiser for SDWR because I know first hand how much a dog can change someones life. I have a family member who is affected by an illness and have always been interested in getting involved in programs like SDWR. I grew up with dogs and absolutely love them. SDWR is the perfect way to incorporate service and giving back while training a puppy! Training Bohach gives me a purpose everyday and he provides so much joy in my life."
– Kelly & Puppy, Bohach
"Through high school I worked with English Labrador Retrievers, breeding and training them for the show ring and hunt field. After going away for college I found that I missed being around dogs every day. Once I heard about the SDWR Puppy Raising Program I immediately contacted them and two weeks later I had a puppy. This experience has been more benefitting for me personally more that I realized before. Not only do I get to enjoy having these amazing animals around me every day, but I also have the privilege of knowing that what I am doing will have a positive impact on not only myself, but also others in the future. This program is not just rewarding for a person who has trained dogs in the past, it can also easily be applied to those who have had dogs for pets in the past or to people who have never had an animal in their life."
– Madeleine & Puppy, Ramses
"Taking on the responsibility of raising a 75 pound bundle of pure energy has certainly come with its share of challenges. Teaching my bundle of energy also known as Jack the service puppy in training, has taught me many lessons about patience and persistence. Through all the learning moments, we have formed a strong connection. Jack is my shadow, following me everywhere I go. He brings so much joy and happiness to my life. I’m hoping I’ve had as much influence on his life as he’s had on mine."
– Cassidy & Puppy, Jack
"I became a puppy raiser for SDWR for several reasons. My grandmother, Juju, has suffered from diabetes for many years. When I heard about SDWR’s service dog and puppy raiser program, I knew I could make a difference. I realized just how large of an impact a service dog would be for my grandmother on a daily basis. I had to get involved to benefit others in need. My neighbor also suffers from PTSD and I realized how a service dog would benefit his life in countless ways. He used to tell me stories about how the 4th of July was his least favorite holiday because the fireworks reminded him of being in battle. He also suffers from anxiety before thunderstorms. I feel very strongly about ensuring I make a difference in these people’s lives."
– Tanner & Puppy, Slash
"I have been raising and training puppies for more than 25 years for my personal use and love dogs and the joy they bring. I currently have two dogs who are certified therapy dogs which I take to schools, nursing centers, and other outlets. I am a strong believer in volunteerism. Becoming a puppy raiser was a great mix of these two activities.
Taking Hazel around with me throughout my day has brightened each day and drawn others to us. I enjoy telling people about Hazel and describing the important work she will do someday. I’m able to educate others about the future role of these dogs. It is so enjoyable to be walking down a hallway and watch the faces of people as the see Hazel coming their way. Initially they usually have a neutral expression, and I can pinpoint the moment they see her. The faces just light up.
– Mary & Puppy, Hazel
"Raising Foster has been the greatest part of my experience at Wake Forest so far. I get to spend every hour of every day working and playing with such a beautiful dog and each moment with him presents a new learning opportunity for both of us. When I decided to become a puppy raiser I knew that I would be raising a dog that would one day go on to do tremendous things for someone else, but I never anticipated that I would also benefit and learn so much from the experience. My day to day life is more enjoyable and fulfilling because of the opportunities presented to me by SDWR."
– Rance & Puppy, Foster