Smoky Mountain Service Dogs will enlist the help of, and depend greatly upon the "volunteer spirit" and generosity of the community to support it's efforts in providing well qualified service dogs to those in need. Therefore, we are inviting volunteers to assist us in providing our puppies in training with the best possible environment in which to grow and develop their service skills by being a puppy raiser. It is imperative that our puppy raisers reside within a reasonable distance (30 minutes or so) from our training facility in Lenoir City, Tennessee.
Puppy Raisers --- How Does the Program Work?
SMSD invites volunteers to assist us in providing our puppies in training with the best possible environment in which to grow and develop their service skills by being a PUPPY RAISER. It is imperative that our puppy raisers reside within a reasonable distance from our training facility in Lenoir City, Tennessee.
What Does It Mean To Be A Puppy Raiser?
- Raise the puppy for at least a 9-12 month period
- Be responsible for housebreaking, crate training, teaching the puppy basic acceptable house manners and basic obedience skills under the guidance and direction of our trainers
- Be responsible for transporting the puppy to and from training classes at the SMSD kennel and for various appointments to receive veterinary/medical care
- Be responsible for taking the puppy into public establishments several times per week
- The ideal puppy raiser will have someone available the majority of the day to devote time and exercise patience with housebreaking, chewing, and other house manners.
What does Smoky Mountain Service Dogs provide to you?
- Dog food, Preventative medications (heartworm/flea control), Veterinary care, ID card for Puppy Raiser, ID tag for collar, Service Dog Vest, Regular classes for Puppy Raiser and Puppy, Foster Manual and Liability insurance.
Socializers: Socializers are also SMSD volunteers. They are responsible for further socializing our dogs and introducing them to additional environmental exposures. Socializers are highly active and capable of transporting the dog to all (or the majority) of its public access outings. Socializers are assigned to a dog in our kennel for the day and take the dog to locations for socialization as directed by the trainers and return the dog later in the day. During this same period, the professional trainers work with the dogs for obedience training and teaching those skills that all future service dogs will be required to have, regardless of the individual recipient. For dogs that are acquired beyond the puppy stage, this is generally the first phase of training.
Respite Providers: Respite providers are volunteers who offer their home for temporary relief to puppy raisers, for adolescent dogs in the kennel and to long term fosters of adolescent dogs who have planned vacations or emergencies. Respite providers also offer weekend stays to relieve SMSD kennel staff or when a dog needs a temporary home while awaiting adoption. The ideal respite providers will be capable of providing short or potentially long term care (if possible) and will be well versed in all areas of training, as they may be housing small puppies or adult dogs for as little as one day to as long as several months. Respite providers will also help to socialize the dogs and work with various necessary verbal and hand commands.
Puppy Raisers and Respite Fosters will provide the following services and equipment.
- Inside living arrangements for the dog.
- Food and fresh water daily.
- Adequate exercise daily.
- Public access outings.
- Report any odd or problematic behaviors to the trainer immediately.
- Maintain the dog's current level of training by practice and consistent leadership.
- Must meet with the assigned trainer a minimum of once every four weeks.
- Provide crate appropriate for a 60 pound dog or larger.
- Toys (Kong, Tugs, Nyla-bones) absolutely no tennis balls allowed.
- Moist, chewy dog treats for training
- Leather or nylon 6 ft. leash (no expandable/Flexi leads).
- Flat collar, appropriately sized.
- Grooming tools.
Smoky Mountain Service Dogs will provide the following.
- Dog food.
- Preventative medications (heartworm/flea control).
- Veterinary care.
- ID card for Foster, ID tag for collar.
- Service Dog Vest
- A puppy training DVD and Foster Manual.
- Liability insurance.
Other volunteer opportunities include:
Groom team - Assist in keeping the SMSD service dogs in training clean and well groomed.
Community Events/PR team- Assist SMSD with fundraisers, festival appearances, and other PR activities.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering with SMSD.
SMSD has been awarded Gold Star Accreditation by Assistance Dogs International. This validates that the facilities and operation of the SMSD program meets or exceeds ADI standards.
SMSD has recently joined the R4 Alliance, a wonderful organization providing assistance to military families.
A Salute to Air Force Veteran Billy Marshall and his SMSD "Lucy"
"Friends", a Message From Our Dogs
Written by Mitch Townley specifically as Theme Song for Smoky Mountain Service Dogs
Smoky Mountain Service Dogs "Tribute to Our Military"
Each Smoky Mountain Service Dog puppy is hand selected by our trainers and the majority will come from reputable breeders. Appropriate shelter/rescue dogs may also be considered.
Vietnam Veteran/Volunteer Dennis Tissot and SMSD Canines in Training
Smoky Mountain Service Dogs now accepting Preliminary Applications.