NEW HOPE, Minn. – “Believe it or not, this is the hardest thing to teach.”
“Yeah, so that they don’t pull.”
Dee Hollerud continues teaching, while she guides a puppy along slowly with his leash.
“It’s pretty much like raising a toddler. It really is. They have their toys out all over the place, they want to learn new things,” Hollerud said.
“And, so if we’re playing the game of ‘Nudge’… yes! Then, she’s eventually going to translate that to ‘nudge’ the button.”
Dee is a puppy raiser for Can Do Canines. Over the years, she’s taken 7 dogs into her home.
“A lot of people think you have to be dog raisers or trainers. You don’t. You just have to have time and a lot of love,” Hollerud said.
And, a purpose. Can Do counts on volunteers to be puppy raisers; it’s their job to groom these puppies for over a year.
“You treat them like family and take them everywhere so they get used to sounds, and noises, and elevators, and people. Lots of people,” Hollerud said.
Over the months, puppy raisers like Dee feed the dogs, take them to the vet, and check in with training classes twice a month. And, then, like toddlers, those puppies become adults, and you have to let go, and watch the dogs go off so they can serve their purpose.
“The way I can do it is first of all tell myself every day she’s meant for greater things. And, then when I turn them in there’s crying of course, but I get to see what they can do to change somebody’s life and it’s the most rewarding thing to know that I had just a little part in it,” Hollerud said.