As a foster family, you will socialize and train a puppy for 18-24 months. This involves bringing the puppy everywhere and introducing them to what life may be like when they’re placed with their veteran.

Puppy Starters

Puppy Starters provide the important training foundation every puppy needs to begin a successful training career. Puppy Starters receive a puppy that is approximately 9 weeks old and is responsible for exposing the puppy to new sights, sounds, smells, and environments during the puppy's critical socialization period. The Puppy Starter will attend class each week, complete assigned homework, and care for the puppy until the puppy is about 6 months old.

Part-time Foster Families

Part-time Foster Families promote great household manners and public training for dogs 6 months or older. The dog will live with the Foster Family full-time for a 4 week period. Part-time Foster Families help ensure our dogs are exposed to as many events and environments as possible to help create a well-rounded dog capable of working in a variety of situations.

Full-time Foster Families

A Full-time Foster Family commits to raising a puppy for the entire time the puppy is in the service dog program. This includes attending mandatory training sessions and group outings throughout the 18-24 month period.

Puppy Sitter

Puppy sitters are not paired with a single dog. Instead, they will take puppies sporadically to help full-time raisers and provide different learning opportunities. As a puppy sitter, you will be “on call” – you will be contacted for help when a puppy raiser may be out of town or have prior commitments. If a puppy sitter has a puppy during one of the mandatory training sessions, they need to bring the puppy to the training as if they were the full-time puppy raiser.

Fill-in Handler

Fill-in handlers are individuals who cannot have a dog in their home but wants to handle dogs.  Fill-in handlers step in at training classes, training retreats, or training trips and works with a dog when a foster family cannot attend.

How to Apply

When you apply to be foster family, puppy sitter or volunteer you are helping Puppy Jake Foundation fulfill its mission to improve the physical and emotional well-being of wounded military veterans through well-bred, socialized and professionally trained service dogs. To start the process, please download and fill out the the Foster Family/Puppy Sitter application below and mail to Puppy Jake Foundation, P.O. Box 12220, Des Moines, IA 50312.

After sending in the Foster Family/Puppy Sitter application please join us for a volunteer orientation.

Volunteer Orientations are held on the 3rd Saturday of every month, 9:00am at Puppy Jake Foundation Training Academy, 3101 104th Street, Suite #2, Urbandale, IA 50322.  Click here for list of dates.

Online Application