Biscuit's Notes: The question I hear the most is "Can I pet him?" and I don't really understand it but sometimes the answer is "Yes, if he is sitting." and sometimes it is "No, I'm sorry." I LOVE to be pet! I love the attention, but there is this small growing part of me that knows that I need to focus on my human and do the work she is asking me to do no matter what. I have a GREAT life. I get to run around and be a normal puppy at home, playing, chasing, fetching, getting into trouble BUT I am also extra special because I get to go places and do things that other dogs do not when I put on my cape.
Lia's Notes: I have so many questions! Why did we get another puppy? Why do puppies have to get so big? Why does he always want to take my stuff? Why does he get so many treats for doing such easy tricks? When is he leaving? Why does he always get to go with MY human on adventures and leave me behind? When will he leave? Will I miss him when he leaves?
Susan's Notes: There are a lot of questions involved in raising a foster puppy, and I hope that this post will help you to learn some answers. Here are some of my FAQ:
Q: Is there anything I can do to help?
A: Yes, as you read below you will learn that Biscuit's organization, Paws with a Cause (PAWS), is very special in that it does not charge clients (people who NEED a service dog) for the dog itself. This can only continue to happen through the generous donations from people like you and me. Please visit my PAWS to Raise Independence page and click on Support Me! Biscuit and I and the entire PAWS organization, current and future clients thank you for any little (or big) bit you can do to help!
Q: Can I pet him?
A: It never hurts to ask, but be prepared to be told no. Assistance dogs, even puppies in training, need to focus on their human/client/partner. As a puppy, if Biscuit learns to associate fun, attention and the reward of being pet by strangers too much he may start to focus on this rather than his job. However, he is a puppy and we want to socialize him so sometimes the answer is yes. I always say he has to be sitting though and in control, otherwise he loses his reward. I also like him to try to focus on me and not you..........because lets be honest, I am going to be the one feeding him and you are walking away.....which one deserves loyalty? :-)
Q: What kind of assistance dog will he be?
A: I don't know. Just like every kid grows up to have different talents, skills and aptitudes; puppies are very similar and the organization he works with (Paws with a Cause) will work very hard to find him the right job. Their focus is to train Hearing Dogs, Service Dogs, Seizure Response Dogs and Service Dogs for Children with Autism. However, PAWS tries to find another working career for them whenever possible. Some dogs career changed from PAWS’ program have become working dogs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, police departments, Detection Dogs, Leader Dogs for the Blind and Crisis Response Dogs. To learn more about what PAWS does check out this link and at the top choose from the "What we Do" menu.
Q: What if he fails?
A: He will become one of the best trained, most friendly, wonderful PETS in the world.
Q: What are you training him to do?
A: Right now, he is a puppy and we are still working on the basics. As you can see from his blog we are both learning a lot. At 7 months old, he has graduated from puppy class, gone on to a novice class and is still working on sit, down, stay, under, stand, heal and other basic important skills that need to be taught early and often. Later he will go on to "puppy college" where he will learn more advanced tricks, skills and ultimately be placed with a client and learn personalized things to help them.
Q: Will you have to give him up?
A: Yes, when he is about 18 months old he will go on to "puppy college" and then find his career. I know that this will be hard, and not everyone could do it, but I am glad that this is something that I CAN do and I know that he is going on to a rewarding and well cared for life.
Q: What about the cost?
A: Anyone who has ever had a dog, knows that they are not cheap. Volunteer foster parents shoulder the costs for their care as puppies but with this organization, Paws with a Cause, clients do not pay to apply for or to receive their Assistance Dogs. The sponsorship to breed or rescue, raise, train, place an Assistance Dog and provide ongoing team support exceeds $30,000. There is no insurance or government funding available to sponsor Assistance Dogs. PAWS funding comes from individual donations nationwide. PAWS’ fundraising and management costs are at or below 13 percent, allowing 87 percent of donor dollars to be used for program services.
Q: Is there anything I can do to help?
A: Yes, as you read above PAWS is very special in that it does not charge clients (people who NEED a service dog) for the dog itself. This can only continue to happen through the generous donations from people like you and me. Please visit my PAWS to Raise Independence page and click on Support Me! Biscuit and I and the entire PAWS organization, current and future clients thank you for any little (or big) bit you can do to help!
Note: Please understand that these are my Q and A based on my knowledge and experience and are not official answers for PAWS. To view official PAWS FAQ visit their site. If you have more questions about PAWS visit their contact page to get in touch. If you have additional questions for me, please feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer it.