Guide Dogs of Texas greatly appreciates its volunteers, and we couldn’t exist without them. As our organization continues to grow each year, we are ever in need of more volunteers. There are numerous ways for you to get involved. This includes everything from cooking meals for our clients while they’re in training to grooming and caring for our incredible dogs. Volunteers should be at least 18 years of age or accompanied by a responsible adult. All volunteers are asked to complete the following: a background check, tour of the campus, and interview process.
Would you like to serve as an “ambassador” for Guide Dogs of Texas? You can. As an ambassador, you will represent the organization on our behalf by interacting with the community. Your duties might involve everything from educating the public about who we are and what we do, to assisting at health fairs or trade shows and public speaking at schools or to civic groups. You can also help by raising funds for Guide Dogs of Texas through special events, event chairing, and serving on an event committee.
After a client is matched with a guide dog, he or she comes to live at our training center for two to three weeks. We always need individuals or families who are willing to come to the center to cook or provide meals, either lunch or dinner, and social time for our clients while they are here for class.
We also need volunteers such as drivers to transport clients to speaking engagements as well as “sighted guides,” who help clients safely navigate around unfamiliar or crowded public places.
Puppies require a lot of love, care, and attention, and our young guide dogs-to-be are no different. As they grow and prepare for the very important job of becoming service dogs, we are seeking kind and caring individuals in the San Antonio and surrounding areas to volunteer as puppy raisers and puppy sitters. Raisers must maintain a high level of consistency during the basic obedience training process. Raisers are required to meet with our program staff on a monthly basis. Sitters provide short-term respite relief to raisers. On-going training and support is provided by the puppy program staff. A home visit is required prior to any placement of a dog in a volunteer’s home.
Even as our dogs transition into advanced training they are still in need of loving and dedicated volunteers to assist with their care. Kennel assistants, for instance, can come in routinely and assist the kennel manager with jobs around the kennel. Boarders are able to take home an assigned dog each weekend and give them a chance to take a break and relax from their training. A home visit is required prior to any placement of a dog in a volunteer’s home.
Our breeding program is in need of brood holders which means caring for an adult female dog in your home. The brood holder provides a safe and loving environment which includes: feeding, basic obedience, daily exercise, grooming, and mental stimulation. When the brood is three weeks out from her due date, the breeding manager will take her to the nursery located on the Guide Dogs of Texas campus. The holder family will have the opportunity to assist staff in the whelping process. A home visit is required prior to any placement of a dog in a volunteer’s home.
Volunteers can also assist in the care of a litter of newborn puppies at Guide Dogs of Texas’ nursery. These puppy development assistants help program staff with socialization and introducing new stimuli to the pups.
To volunteer for any of these positions, contact Jenna at Jenna@guidedogsoftexas.org or call (210) 366-4081.