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weekend puppy adventures ahead

Volunteer Hiking with Dog in Training


Weekend PAWS'abilities Puppy Sitter

Apply online to be a Weekend PAWS'abilities Puppy Sitter! Questions? Reach out to our Pup Raiser Coordinator, Jamie, via email or at 303-481-2376.

interested in including a puppy in your weekend plans?

Weekend PAWS'ability Puppy Sitters open their homes to one of our amazing puppies on weekends for the duration of its training. **Positions limited to Torrington WY area**

Some of our puppies are raised in correctional facilities through our Prison Puppy Raising Program (PAWS'abilities). Paragon is honored to work in partnership with Wyoming Medium Security Correctional Facility in Torrington, Wyoming, where our pups go at two months of age to live with and be trained by Master Inmate Handlers until they are about a year old. During this time, the dedicated Master Inmate Handlers provide their pups with love, guidance, and training. The inmate handlers play a critical role in the successful development of our hearing service pups by supporting the pups in each stage of their development, working on socialization, good manners, basic obedience, and beginning sound alert training.

However, because a Paragon service dog will be required to accompany their person in every setting once they are matched, it is crucial for the pups to experience and become comfortable in a broader world as they are growing up. And that is where Weekend PAWS'abilities Puppy Sitters come in.

Weekend PAWS'abilities Puppy Sitters (opportunity limited to the Torrington, WY area) take puppies beyond the prison each weekend for about a year to work on house manners, socialization, and training. These weekends in a home environment ensure that each puppy gets the socialization they need. Weekend PAWS'abilities Puppy Sitters introduce our pups to sights, sounds, and experiences that are not available in a prison setting (like grocery stores, movie theaters, malls, restaurants, and sporting events). They experience typical household activities, settings, and distractions. Through their weekend furloughs, the pups gain exposure to children, wildlife, and cats and travel in cars and buses, bikes, parks, elevators, and escalators… all the many things a service dog must be able to comfortably encounter and navigate daily.

process to become a weekend PAWS'abilities puppy sitter

  • Read the Weekend PAWS'abilities Puppy Sitter job description and FAQs
  • Fill out the Paragon Puppy Raiser/Sitter application
  • Interview with Paragon's Pup Raiser Coordinator
  • Have a home visit, conducted by Paragon staff, with people and pets living in the home
  • Complete a background check (for serious crimes; $20 paid by the volunteer)
  • Participate in our orientation and once weekly pup-raising classes to learn our positive reinforcement approach from our highly skilled trainers; we strive to accommodate schedules and locations of raisers

expectations of a weekend PAWS'abilites puppy sitter

Weekend PAWS'abilities Puppy Sitters take the puppies out of prison on weekends in order to introduce the pups to sights, sounds and experiences that are not available within a prison setting and work on house manners, broader socialization and support and strengthen training.

Get the full volunteer job description here.

Expectations include:

  • Provide love, support, safety, training, socialization and an invaluable in-home experience for a Paragon puppy two weekends per month for 10 to 12 months.
  • Pick up pups from the prison on Friday afternoon and return them Monday morning.
  • Teach the puppy basic skills and appropriate behavior using Paragon's cues and techniques.
  • Promote confidence in the puppy and an eagerness to work through positive reinforcement.
  • Follow Paragon's procedures and guidelines.
  • Attend (virtual and in-person) puppy classes once a month.
  • Provide age-appropriate outings and experiences for socialization.
  • Complete and submit puppy reports in a timely manner.
  • Have fun with and enjoy your puppy!