Since 2002, it’s been our mission to support, encourage, and celebrate people who might otherwise struggle to find their independence or purpose.
By choosing to get involved with ICAN, you can be part of our life-changing mission that enriches the lives of people living with disabilities and helps incarcerated individuals find a sense of purpose.
Here are several ways you can help others find independence and hope:
ICAN’s litter hosts are responsible for hosting a pregnant female dog in their home for the weeks leading up to her delivery, or whelp. These volunteers are present for the birth of ICAN’s newest service dogs in training and continue to care for the litter until they are eight weeks old.
Hosts are required to shadow our whelping team and assist in whelps and caring for newborn puppies prior to hosting their own litter. Litter hosts are currently ICAN’s largest volunteer need!
Furlough volunteers spend around three weeks at a time with a service dog in training that is anywhere from approximately six months to two years old.
Furloughers continue the dog’s training by exposing them to different lifestyles and activities that they would not get to experience while working with their inmate handler. These volunteers do not teach the dogs any new cues, but instead, their job is to reinforce and practice the cues the dog already knows.
Our puppy raisers are a special type of furlough volunteer that are given the important task of beginning the initial stages of training for our future service dogs. From the ages of eight to 16 weeks, a puppy raiser will teach simple house manners, potty training, and basic cues while exposing the puppies to the world!
Things that seem silly to us are a big deal for puppies that are experiencing the world around them for the first time. Exposing puppies to things like new surfaces, smells, and sounds is crucial in confidence building.
Want to work hands-on with our dogs in training but are unable to volunteer for extended periods of time? Litter sitting may be the perfect opportunity!
Litter sitting provides our volunteers with the opportunity to visit ICAN’s newest litter of puppies for a couple of hours at a time. Sitters are there as the puppies begin to wean off of their mother and begin to learn how to be away from their siblings, how to eat solid food, and how to be comfortable having their paws and ears touched.
We also have plenty of opportunities for individuals who wish to support ICAN without working hands-on with a service dog in training.
These volunteers have the opportunity to help us with various fundraising and outreach tasks and activities, such as working check-in tables, creating dog art for Puppy Love Valentines, packaging gift boxes, helping at events, and more. These volunteers are incredibly helpful in ensuring our events run smoothly and efficiently!
“Volunteering has given me deep life-long friendships through a dynamic volunteer training program."
“At the end of the day, the three weeks I spend working with each dog is just a small part of their two-year training process, but the impact that each and every furlough has had on me is so unique and long-lasting.”
“Trained volunteers are ready to help as much as you need. You are never without someone to call on for a question or concern. You will be part of a team.”
“ICAN provides ample opportunity for interested volunteers to learn about whelping through observation and working with current whelping hosts. You will never stop learning.”
Be part of bringing hope (and lots of smiles) to our clients and handlers.
If you are interested in volunteering for ICAN, please complete the form. We will be in contact soon to discuss your opportunities and passion!