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Raising a service dog puppy is a labor of love!

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

In 2023, Early Alert Canines (EAC) launched its first-ever Breeding and Puppy Raising program! EAC greatly values the volunteers who participate in puppy raising to help train future service dogs. These compassionate individuals open their hearts and homes to provide a safe and loving environment for puppies. They receive comprehensive support and training from the EAC team, attend classes, public outings, and learning basic service dog obedience.

Suzie and EAC Sheldon at a networking event.

Suzie Scher is an experienced puppy raiser and a local entrepreneur. Through her business, Scher Spaces, she combines elements of functional mobility, ability awareness and over 15 years in the Occupational Therapy field to bring a unique perspective to creating accessible spaces. She includes EAC Sheldon in her daily life with her family and in her business.

What is it like to be a puppy-raiser?

It's a wonderful way to support people with disabilities (specifically people with insulin-dependent diabetes) while also getting to spend time with an easy-to-train pup! I get to have a companion with me whether I'm working at home, going to a work event, running errands or meeting a friend for coffee. The exposure for my two young kids to learn about service dogs is a great lesson for them. It's also a great way to meet people as they often inquire about my puppy Sheldon and we get to chat about how cute he is and how intelligent dogs are.

What is a memorable moment?

Sheldon and I had an adventure riding BART from Walnut Creek to Berkeley to visit the Ed Roberts campus. Sheldon was relaxed and followed my commands no matter how noisy or crowded the train was and also didn't flinch when someone brought their pet dog near us. He was a great riding companion!

EAC Sheldon at BART.

Why should donors support EAC's mission?

Donors should support EAC's mission to allow more people who are insulin-dependent to live their lives with independence, dignity and less anxiety about their disease. Having their Diabetic Alert Dog indicate when their blood sugar is out of optimal range allows them to focus on the activities of their daily lives. This reduction in constantly worrying also reduces stress and anxiety for their loved ones.

What else would you like to share?

Suzie and EAC Sheldon at Leadership Contra Costa.

As an accessibility consultant, I notice situations where there are barriers for people with disabilities to participate in their communities.

When I'm networking and doing projects for my business, Scher Spaces, I'm also able to share with people the importance of welcoming service dogs into their businesses. Increasing access for service dogs means increasing access for people with disabilities.

Not having to worry about whether a business means someone with their service dog can shop, do errands, socialize and participate in events with their loved ones just as easily as someone who doesn't have a service dog. Increasing access through acceptance of service dogs is a high priority for me both personally and professionally and I'm honored to be able to do that as a volunteer with EAC.

Thank you, Suzie!

If you'd like to learn more about puppy raising, please click here.

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