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In Need of Homes: Become a puppy raiser with K9s for Warriors

Before the dogs become service animals for veterans, they are raised by volunteers.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Before these dogs graduate to become service dogs and before they can save a veterans life, they are raised by volunteers.

K9s for Warriors needs more volunteers right now.

No experience is needed and families with kids are welcome to apply! Your puppy comes potty and crate trained. All medical expenses and supplies are paid for or provided. 

It’s your time and love that they need.

With the vest on, they’re working. They’re going to save lives. But right now, they’re just puppies.

“I’m addicted to dogs," puppy raiser Marie Massie laughed. She's raised 9 puppies with K9s for Warriors since 2016.

“There’s nothing more beautiful than to give back to our veterans with a gift that saves not only their life, but it saves their marriage, their family and it allows them to go out in public and be normal again," Massie said. 

It’s the step before service dog training. You bring a puppy home when it’s only a few months old (usually around 16 weeks) and raise it until it’s about 16 months and ready to train.

Puppy raisers have one main task: socialization. These pups get to go everywhere you go. 

“It’s important for them to be socialized for the warrior’s benefit," puppy raiser Pam Cramer explained. "When they’re put into situations where a warrior who has been suffering with PTSD or TBI... when they become their battle buddies, they will help them get through those situations.”

Then, the hard part comes. You give them back. They have to begin their training.

“But when you see what you’ve done, and how you’ve enabled this dog to go to a warrior and help out, it is a wonderful thing," Cramer said. "The best way to get over it, is get another puppy!”

People often ask, how do you do it? How do you give away a dog you raised?

“It’s just the feeling you get, the reward you get knowing you’ve changed somebody’s life," Massie explained. 

K9s for Warriors received more puppies in November and they need homes now. No experience needed, but there are a few requirements. 


  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Live within 50 miles from the K9s for Warriors campus in Ponte Vedra
  • Access to a vehicle
  • Can attend monthly obedience classes
  • Can you take your dog to work with you or is there someone to supervise the dog during the day?

Apply here.

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