Humans of BluePath: Emmaline Putnam, Puppy Raiser

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How it All Began: When I was about nine years old, I asked my parents if I could raise a service dog since some girls in my 4H club were raising service dogs, too. They told me that I could do it once I reached high school, probably thinking that I would forget about it by then, but I never forgot. I began raising my first puppy as soon as I entered my freshman year of high school. Now, as a psychology major in college and a repeat puppy raiser, I continue to be fascinated by the impact animals can have on people with special needs.

Favorite Part of Volunteering for BluePath: Raising for BluePath has connected me with so many people who I would never have met otherwise. I was able to meet people within the organization who have been extremely supportive throughout the whole process. I’ve also met a ton of people on campus who were curious about my puppy, which has led to a lot of really cool opportunities. For example, I get to visit a local elementary school with my puppy to host a weekly reading program.

Favorite Part of Puppy Raising: Raising a puppy forces you to go outside of your comfort zone and try things you may not otherwise do. I attend many more campus events and talk to a lot more of my fellow students than I probably would have if I didn't have my dog with me on campus. It’s also really fun to have a little troublemaker by your side to get you through the many stressors of college.

Words of Wisdom for Prospective Puppy Raisers: It's a challenging process, especially the first time you raise. It can be very emotional. But you get addicted. Giving the gift of a service dog is a life-changing experience. You build a strong connection with a dog and get to watch how that connection transfers to another person who will really benefit from the training you carry out. It’s the most incredible feeling ever.

Fast Facts:

About Emmaline:

  • Studies At: Iowa State University
  • Dream Vacation Spot: California
  • Favorite Way To Start The Morning: Listening to The Daily podcast by Michael Barbaro  

About Winston:

  • Newest Skill: Close command
  • Where To Find Him On Campus: At the library, practicing settling while Emmaline works
  • Quirkiest Trait: Tilting his head and grinning… also sleeping on his back all the time
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