Paws with a Cause seeks volunteers to train dogs
Updated: Sunday, March 31 2013, 05:25 PM EDT
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Paws with a cause is looking for foster parents to help train puppies for those in need.
The company pairs service dogs with those around the country, but first, the dogs are trained in obedience by volunteers.
Madeline O'Brien, 13, from Dorr, applied to be a foster parent through the program, and spoke to Newschannel 3's Lourin Sprenger.
"I like animals a lot," she explained. "I wanted to do something for someone else."
It's Madeline's responsibility that her charge, June, is on her best behavior at all times.
"It's been a tremendous experience," said Madeline's mother, Chris O'Brien. "It's been really good for her self-esteem because June is doing well."
Madeline committed to a year and a half of training and loving June, and preparing her to serve someone in need.
In just a few months, June will be evaluated on temperament and obedience.
If she passes, she'll move on to formal training for another 4 to 6 months.
"It was overwhelming at first, constantly taking her out to the bathroom, but she has gotten older and behaved more," Madeline said.
She says it will be hard to let June go, but knows that she'll be ready to help someone else.
"Some of our dogs literally save our client's lives," said Julie Thorington, a national foster puppy coordinator. "That's what it's all about--giving back."
The dogs once came from shelters, but in the past 10 years a breeding program was developed in which 97 percent of the puppies now come from Paws’ own stock; only a few come from shelters.
Reporting a good year for breeding, 80 puppies will need foster homes by the end of March.
The next orientation for prospective puppy raisers in southwest Michigan will be April 22, at 6 p.m. at PAWS Canine Development Center, 4646 S. Division, Wayland.
For more information, call 800-253-7297 or click here.