If you love puppies and also want the reward that comes from helping others, you might consider volunteering with Canine Companions for Independence. A carefully selected 2-month-old puppy is given to a foster family to learn basic obedience in an affectionate environment. Then, at 15 months, it returns to the organization to undergo six months of training, after which it is placed with a person who is disabled or institutionalized. Among other skills, it learns to pull a wheelchair, turn lights on and off and pick up dropped items.
During the training period, the dog is allowed to visit its foster home on weekends to ease the transition. The family is encouraged to attend the graduation dinner, where it gives the dog to the person who is adopting it.
For more information, call Patti Murphy at (213) 391-0318, or write to Canine Companions for Independence, P.O. Box 66428, Los Angeles 90066.