The last article on Help On Four Legs really focused on the labor of a Puppy Raiser. I sang their praises, and thanked them for their hard work and sacrifices. It’s like being a surrogate parent; Puppy Raisers care for these little hell-raising fur balls just until they start to act like civilized adults, then they give them back.
“I could never do that.”
When I tell curious strangers about the process, the 5 words above are almost always the first they utter.
Ok, so you could never do that. There’s a lot you can do, though.
Puppy Raisers invest a massive amount of time and a lot of their own money in their puppies. Here are some creative ways to help out:
1. Kibble. Do you know how much dog food costs, especially for a growing pup? A 40 lb bag of puppy food can cost as much as $50, and that’s for the normal pet-store brand. If a Puppy Raiser is feeding his or her pup around two cups a day for the first six months or so, then transitioning to three cups around six months, food over the course of 18 months could cost around $400. That doesn’t include training treats or special formulas for puppies with digestive issues. If you want to show a Puppy Raiser some love, find out what his or her dog eats and buy a bag.
2. Puppysitting. Having a puppy is a little like having a kid. Wanna go out? Better make sure the pup has been fed and gone out, and that you’ll be back in time to prevent an accident, and that everything chewable is of reach, and that there are no choking hazards. How about a trip? The extra work involved sometimes feels worth it, and other times prevents Puppy Raisers from going on vacation. If you’re not in position where you want to or can raise a puppy, try offering to puppysit when Puppy Raisers are in need.
3. Gift baskets. Lots of the supplies Puppy Raisers use are consumable, and those supplies always manage to run out all at the same time! A gift basket of ear cleaner, cotton balls, puppy treats, shampoo, clean up kits, maybe a cute new collar or leash…wait, is this the Puppy Raiser wishlist or mine?
4. Gift cards. PetSmart, PetCo, local pet stores…they’re all great places to get gift cards for Puppy Raisers. Supplies are an endless need, and it’s great peace of mind to have a little fund just for those, “Oh no, I’m out of ear cleaner!” moments.
It takes a village.
In the model of CCI, there are a million different roles to fill. Some raise money, others give the money; some train, others get trained. Some people raise puppies, others help the people that raise the puppies. “I wish…” or, “I couldn’t,” should never prevent you from contributing to a cause that you believe in, no matter what your role is.