MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Talk about an adorable problem! "Can Do Canines" has too many puppies and not enough foster homes.
The Twin Cities organization is looking for people to care for and temporarily foster as many as 28 new puppies while they train to assist people with disabilities.
Some of the service dogs help people with autism, while others provide seizure response and mobility assistance. They also have dogs that help people that are deaf or hard of hearing and those who need diabetes assistance.
Alan Peters, executive director of Can Do Canines, says they are looking for foster families who are willing to raise a puppy for a year to 16 months, teach them good house manners and good social interaction.
"The benefits of the dogs are much greater than safety," Peters said. "They help the child be more comfortable around people. Instead of looking at a child that seems unusual at first glance, they see a child with a beautiful dog and ask 'What's your dog's name?' That starts the conversation and changes everything."
The list for service dogs is 180 people long. Can Do Canines is only able to train 45 dogs this year.
"We have to have a dog that's basically bombproof, that can go into any circumstance and not be afraid of anything and just be relaxed and be able to do their job," Peters said.
Can Do Canines says it's easy to be a puppy raiser. Volunteers are responsible for donating their time, food and basic veterinary care. If costs are a concern, the organization says it will find ways to help. Puppy raisers are also expected to attend two training sessions each month.
The only hard part, Peters admits, is the bittersweet goodbye when one the puppy graduates to a service dog.
"Once you've done it and once you've met the person whose lives have changed as a result of you being a volunteer efforts, you want to do it again," Peters said.
Go to Can Do Canines' website for information on becoming a foster family.
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