Photo Gallery: Can Do Canines

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Love puppies and helping people? Then a Minnesota organization could use your help.

Dog lovers have a chance to help raise assistance dogs for Can Do Canines, a New Hope-based organization dedicated to supplying assistance dogs to those in need. The organization will soon have three litters of puppies in need of homes and basic training.

Can Do Canines trains dogs to help with five different kinds of disabilities: autism, diabetes, seizures, hearing, and mobility. But a key part of the process is handled by volunteers, who take the puppies home when they are 10-weeks-old and raise them for more than a year.

Volunteer Dee Hollerud, who has helped raise four assistance dogs, said being a puppy raiser is “one of the best feelings ever.”

But the job isn’t always easy. It takes commitment and investment.

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“[Volunteers] take care of the dog like it’s their own for the year,” said Al Peters of Can Do Canines. “So, they take it to the vet, and they buy food for it, and that kind of thing.”

Volunteers also take the dogs to classes, and work with them in public, getting them ready for final training.

“This isn’t just a cute experience,” Peters said. “There’s a lot of work and dedication involved, but the payoff is worth it, to see somebody’s life change.”

Hollerud said saying goodbye to the dogs is tough, but that it’s worth it in the end.

“When you say goodbye, there’s a little sadness, but to watch what he can do afterwards is amazing.”

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To be a puppy raiser, one needs to love dogs. Experience as a trainer is not required. For more information, see Can Do Canines’ website.