SYLMAR, Calif. (KABC) -- Dog lovers across Southern California can get their puppy fix while committing an act of service at the same time.
Guide Dogs of America, a Sylmar-based nonprofit organization, is looking for volunteers to provide loving homes to raise 8-week-old puppies until they are around 18 months old.
Volunteer foster individuals and families, which the organization calls "puppy raisers," will be part of changing the lives of those who are blind or visually impaired.
First-time applicants must be interviewed before a puppy is placed in their home. Puppy raisers must live in the Southern California area, and households with children and other pets are a plus.
Puppy raisers are an essential part of making sure the puppy receives proper socialization needed to help adjust to the important job they will later do in life.
The organization plans an orientation meeting where they explain the "Dos" and "Don'ts" of raising dogs. At the training, volunteers receive a manual, care supplies, five pounds of dog food and, of course, their puppy!
Food and any items purchased for the puppy are tax deductible. The dogs will receive care from the organization's state-of-the-art veterinary clinic.
Puppies are also required to attend monthly obedience classes where they will learn how to walk on a leash, how to sit, stay, lay down and come when called.
At 18 months of age, the dogs return to the organization for formal guide dog training.
The ultimate reward comes when volunteer puppy raisers get the opportunity to meet the blind recipient of the dog they raised at the team's graduation ceremony.
To apply to be a puppy raiser or for more information, visit the Guide Dogs of America website.